Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has agreed to an $86.5 million penalty to settle allegations that the utility engaged in improper backdoor communications with state regulators in the wake of the deadly San Bruno pipeline explosion. While the agreement would see PG&E pay $6 million each to the cities of San Bruno and San Carlos, most of the settlement takes the form of PG&E forgoing $63.5 million in revenue it otherwise would have collected from all of its customers in 2018 and 2019. The average PG&E residential customer would see monthly bills fall about 22 cents as a result, according to the company. PG&E will not be permitted to pass on to its customers any of the costs associated with the agreement. Those costs must instead come out of the company’s earnings. The utility, California’s largest, made $1.4 billion in profits last year. PG&E negotiated the settlement with the safety and ratepayer divisions of the California Public Utilities Commission, as well as the cities of San Bruno and San Carlos and The Utility Reform Network, a consumer group. The commission’s five-member governing board must approve the agreement for it to take effect. A federal judge in San Francisco today ordered… Read full this story
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