PG&E to Pay $38 million Fine for Rancho Cordova Blast

3 years after a fatal blast, the CPUC finally fines PG&E

PG&E Corp. agreed to pay a $38 million fine for the Christmas Eve 2008 blast that killed a Rancho Cordova homeowner and injured five others.

The amount is $12 million more than the $26 million that PG&E and the California Public Utilities Commission initially agreed to back in June for the deadly explosion.

The fine is one of the largest safety-related penalties issued by the CPUC but will likely be dwarfed by those arising from the state’s pending investigation into the San Bruno gas line explosion, which killed eight people and leveled dozens of homes in September 2010.

“PG&E seems quite willing to pay the higher fine to put this behind them,” said Marcel Hawiger, energy attorney for TURN, a San Francisco-based consumer advocacy group.

A PG&E spokesman did not return calls immediately.