San Bruno Aftermath: PG&E Customers Receive Refunds

PG&E customers received a pleasant surprise in their June bills. Thanks to a ‘gas credit” applied to their balance, gas bills were lower for everyone. This credit is a direct result of TURN’s advocacy in the CPUC’s investigation into PG&E’s fatal San Bruno explosion, in which TURN and the City of San Bruno won $1.6 B in penalties against PG&E,including $400 million in bill credits.

The amount of the credit varied based on the household’s usage. It was calculated based on the customer’s average monthly gas consumption during the December 2015 and January 2016 billing cycles. It will be paid by PG&E’s shareholders out of money that otherwise would have gone toward profits.“PG&E was short-changing customers on safety while boosting profits,” said TURN legal director Tom Long.“It is appropriate that some of PG&E’s ill-gotten gains go back to the customers it cheated.”

The penalties won by TURN and our allies at the CPUC send a strong message to shareholders and management alike that they will be held
accountable when PG&E violates the public trust.TURN had hoped that a similarly strong message would come out of the federal criminal trial of PG&E, but at press time that didn’t appear likely.In both cases, rather than admit to its wrongdoing, P&GE took the bull-headed position that the explosion, and the failures leading up to it, were not the result of the company’s reckless behavior.