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PG&E considers San Bruno settlements

May 3, 2012 at 7:13 AM

SAN FRANCISCO, May 3 (UPI) -- Pacific Gas and Electric has a clear interest in reaching a settlement with those affected by a 2010 natural gas explosion in California, an executive said.

A natural gas pipeline operated by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. exploded September 2010 in San Bruno, Calif., killing eight people and damaging 38 homes.

PG&E had said it was facing as much as $200 million in penalties related to the incident. It's facing three penalty proceedings with the California Public Utilities Commission.

Tony Earley, PG&E president and chief executive officer, said some parties affected by the disaster were interested in reaching a settlement.

"We are clearly interested in settling, as it is the fastest path to closure, but we have not had any substantive discussions at this point," he was quoted by the Platts news service as saying.

PG&E during the first quarter of 2012 posted a net income of $233 million, up 17 percent from the same time last year.

U.S. legislation on pipeline safety, enacted this year, doubles the maximum fine for pipeline safety violations to $2 million, deploys more inspectors and mandates automatic shut-off valves where "feasible."

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