SAN FRANCISCO, March 20 (UPI) -- California consumers may have to pay for upgrading pipelines in the state because of regulatory requirements, PG&E executives said.
Pacific Gas and Electric announced this month that it reached an agreement to pay $70 million to the city of San Bruno, Calif., in restitution after a Sept. 9, 2010, pipeline explosion.
A natural gas pipeline operated by PG&E exploded in San Bruno, killing eight people and damaging 38 homes.
Nick Stavropoulos, a vice president in charge of gas operations at the utility, said customers may have to pay for more than 80 percent of the costs tied to pipeline upgrades because of a "new, higher safety standard," the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
In January, U.S. President Barack Obama signed a measuring into law regulating oil and gas pipelines. The measure doubles the maximum fine for pipeline safety violations to $2 million, deploys more inspectors and mandates automatic shut-off valves where "feasible."
PG&E officials said the entire bill for safety upgrades could run to $11.2 billion. The company said the upgrades weren't necessarily tied to the San Bruno incident.