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PG&E penalized $1.4B for deadly pipeline blast

SAN FRANCISCO — California regulatory judges issued a $1.4 billion penalty on Tuesday against the state’s largest utility for a lethal 2010 gas pipeline explosion that engulfed a suburban San Francisco neighborhood in flames, killing eight people.

The California Public Utilities Commission said the figure reached by two administrative law judges against Pacific Gas & Electric Co. in the San Bruno pipeline explosion represented the largest safety-related penalty it had ever imposed.

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The amount of the penalty is meant to ‘‘send a strong message to PG&E, and all other pipeline operators, that they must comply with mandated federal and state pipeline safety requirements, or face severe consequences,’’ Judge Timothy J. Sullivan wrote in his order.

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