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Regulators recommend $2.25 billion penalty for California gas explosion

SAN FRANCISCO, May 7 (UPI) — California regulators recommend a record $2.25 billion fine for a 2010 natural gas explosion that devastated a San Francisco suburb, killing eight people.

If approved by the California Public Utilities Commission, the fine against Pacific Gas & Electric would be the largest penalty ever levied by the agency, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

The Commission’s Safety and Enforcement Division said its investigators found more than 100 safety violations by PG&E, some of them dating back decades.

Regulators said imposing a fine for each violation would result in “tens of billions of dollars in fines, which is more than PG&E’s net worth.”

Instead, regulators agreed on a figure of $2.25 billion, a report released on Monday said.

They also recommended the fine be paid by the company’s shareholders and not ratepayers.

In addition to the eight deaths, the September 2010 explosion injured dozens of residents and destroyed 38 homes when a 54-year-old pipeline exploded underneath a neighborhood in San Bruno, a suburb south of San Francisco

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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