SAN BRUNO — PG&E customers could see lower monthly gas bills due to an $86.5 million settlement agreed on Tuesday over corruption allegations, which followed a fatal pipeline explosion in San Bruno.
Pending final approval from state regulators, the settlement will impose an array of financial remedies and penalties on PG&E. It follows the disclosure of a series of improper communications and back-channel deals linked to the San Bruno disaster. The utility’s inappropriate actions also affected gas-pipeline operations in San Carlos.
“Pursuant to the settlement agreement, the utility agreed to a total financial remedy of $86.5 million,” PG&E stated in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday.
San Francisco-based PG&E reached the proposed settlement deal with the cities of San Bruno and San Carlos, the PUC’s Office of Ratepayer Advocates, the PUC Safety and Enforcement Division and The Utility Reform Network, or TURN.
“PG&E is committed to interacting with our regulators in a completely transparent and ethical manner,” PG&E spokesman Donald Cutler said.
The monthly gas bill for the typical residential customer would drop by an average of 22 cents a month during 2018 and 2019 as a result of the settlement, PG&E said.
“Customers are tired of all talk and no action to hold PG&E accountable for criminal negligence and corrupt behavior,” said Mark Toney, executive director of TURN, a consumer group. “And they want assurances that they are not paying even a penny of the costs of that corruption and negligence in their monthly bills.”
In January, PG&E was branded a convicted felon when a federal judge imposed the maximum sentence on the utility for six criminal charges arising from the company’s illegal actions before and after the San Bruno explosion.
Through the settlement, PG&E agreed to: pay a $1 million fine to the state’s general fund; forego collection of $63.5 million in revenue requests for its gas transmission and storage system during 2018 and 2019; a one-time reduction in revenue requests in upcoming years; a $6 million payment to San Bruno; and a $6 million payment to San Carlos.
“For more than a year, we’ve been working cooperatively and constructively with the other parties in this proceeding, and we’re pleased to say we’ve come to a settlement agreement,” Cutler said.