Pacific Gas and Electric fined $10.8 million over California natural gas explosion

Associated Press

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has been fined $10.85 million for a March natural gas explosion that destroyed a cottage in Carmel.

The California Public Utilities Commission says in a Thursday statement the utility violated safety rules and failed to properly equip a crew trying to replace a gas-distribution line in the area. It says those oversights led to the March 3 explosion of an empty cottage.

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No one was injured in the blast that was heard eight blocks away.

The commission says it has also authorized a probe into PG&E record-keeping of its gas distribution system.

It says the probe will determine whether the utility's smaller pipelines that run through neighborhoods and connect homes and businesses have been unsafe and in violation of the law.