Sunday, August 2nd14.0°C
27107
27169

PG&E pleads not guilty to obstruction, other charges in deadly gas explosion in California

SAN FRANCISCO - Pacific Gas & Electric Co. pleaded not guilty Monday to charges in a new indictment that accuses the utility of lying to federal investigators looking into a fatal pipeline explosion in a San Francisco Bay Area neighbourhood.

Steve Bauer, an attorney for the company, entered the plea in federal court to all 28 counts, including obstruction of justice. The new indictment — announced last month — replaced a 12-count indictment that related to PG&E's safety practices but did not include an obstruction charge.

Prosecutors say PG&E tried to mislead federal investigators about pipeline testing and maintenance procedures it was following at the time of the 2010 explosion in the city of San Bruno and for six months afterward.

The blast killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes.

The utility was operating under a company policy that did not meet federal safety standards, failing to prioritize as high-risk and properly assess many of its oldest natural gas pipelines, prosecutors said.

PG&E said in a statement on Monday that the obstruction charge stems from a paperwork error that the company quickly corrected.

"We are confident the legal process will ensure all of the facts are fully reviewed. In the meantime, we want all of our customers to know that we will stay focused on transforming this 100-plus-year-old natural gas system into the safest and most reliable in the country," the company said.

The other charges accuse the utility of failing to act on threats in its pipeline system even after the problems were identified by its own inspectors. The indictment charges PG&E with keeping shoddy records, failing to identify safety threats and failing to act when threats were found.

PG&E said Monday that employees did not intentionally violate the federal Pipeline Safety Act and even when there were mistakes, "employees were acting in good faith to provide customers with safe and reliable energy."

The new charges expose PG&E to more than $1 billion in fines. It had faced up to a $6 million fine under the old indictment.

In addition, the utility is facing lawsuits and $2.5 billion in civil fines from regulators, including the state Public Utilities Commission.

San Bruno officials said they have asked federal prosecutors to request the appointment of an independent monitor to oversee PG&E and its state regulators as part of any penalty against the company.

The Canadian Press


Read more Business News




Recent Trending




Today's Market
S&P TSX14468.44+85.68
S&P CDNX594.31+6.01
DJIA17689.86-56.12
Nasdaq5128.28-0.50
S&P 5002103.84-4.79
CDN Dollar0.7640-0.0052
Gold1096.90+0.60
Oil47.22-1.69
Lumber252.30+0.50
Natural Gas2.883+0.062

 
Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.17-0.01
Knighthawk0.010.00
QHR Technologies Inc1.42+0.00
Cantex0.035-0.005
Anavex Life Sciences0.9101+0.1101
Metalex Ventures0.05+0.00
Russel Metals19.40-0.05
Copper Mountain Mining0.79+0.01
Colorado Resources0.065+0.005
ReliaBrand Inc0.0049+0.0004
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.03+0.00
Mission Ready Services0.095-0.045
Decisive Dividend Corp2.55+0.05

 



25386

FEATURED Property
2269370103-523 ROWCLIFFE AVE
1 bedrooms 1 baths
more details
image2image2image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading


Chasing ducks

Photo: Thinkstock.comWhen businessmen tell me that being low priced is the only way to stay in business, I am skeptical. Price is the simplest way for a consumer to compare and is overused as the basi...


Taking care of business

Photo: Thinkstock.comRetirement as a goal has changed a lot over the years. There was a time, it was the only goal. You’d punch the clock and count the years until you could stop punching that t...


Income from home equity

Photo: Thinkstock.comWhen retirement funds run low, seniors often ask if tapping into the equity in their home is the right way to retain financial independence. To see if this option might be a good ...

_





26370


Member of BC Press Council


26707