san bruno gas accident | Northern California Personal Injury Blog
Safety has become a top concern among state regulators as they seek to set utility rates for gas and electric service for the New Year, according to a recent article in The San Jose Mercury-News. Regulators are attempting to balance the need to improve safety, especially replacing aging equipment, with the risks of pushing utility rates up even higher when many households are already struggling to make ends meet.
In particular, regulators are concerned about Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E) plans to pass off to customers 90 percent of the cost of improving the company’s aging gas pipelines in San Bruno and other areas. The cost is expected to reach $2.2 billion before the company has finished. PG&E has already received criticism for failing to update its pipelines in 2010 before the San Bruno compressed gas accident that killed several people. According to the Mercury-News, the company had received several million dollars for equipment safety updates, but had declined to spend the money because it felt the safety fixes weren’t “urgent.”
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On September 9, 2010, a gas pipeline maintained by Pacific Gas & Electric exploded in the San Bruno neighborhood of San Francisco. Eight people were killed by the blast, and several homes were destroyed or severely damaged. Now, federal prosecutors are investigating what went wrong and whether Pacific Gas & Electric should face criminal charges for its negligence, reports the Associated Press.
Investigators at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco have asked Pacific Gas & Electric to turn over a broad group of documents, including maps, reports, and the company’s emergency protocols. The federal office has also contacted California state agencies that regulate pipelines, asking for information about the San Bruno compressed gas accident.
If the U.S. Attorney’s Office decides to press criminal charges against Pacific Gas & Electric, these charges will remain separate from the civil personal injury and wrongful death suits that the company already faces in the wake of the pipeline accident. Even if the U.S. Attorney’s Office decides that criminal charges are not appropriate, the people injured by the explosion and their families will still be allowed to seek compensation from Pacific Gas & Electric in court.
When a gas company fails to safely and properly install or maintain its gas pipelines, tragedy can result. If you or a loved one has been injured in a gas explosion or related accident, please don’t hesitate to contact the experienced Orinda accident attorneys at Balamuth Harrington. We will help you hold the negligent parties responsible for their actions in order for you to receive the compensation you need and deserve. For a free consultation, call Balamuth Harrington at 888-254-1234 today.
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