PG&E to Settle San Bruno Pipeline Explosion Claims


by Chris Poole

JAMS ADR Blog by Chris Poole

September 2013

Chris Poole

Utility giant Pacific Gas & Electric Co. will pay out $565 million in legal settlements and other claims stemming from the 2010 natural gas explosion in San Bruno, Calif., that killed eight people and devastated a neighborhood, company officials said.

The explosion, one of the worst pipeline disasters in U.S. history, occurred when a 30-inch steel underground natural gas pipeline owned by PG&E ruptured under San Bruno’s Crestmoor neighborhood. The explosion was caused by faulty welds in the pipe federal investigators later concluded, and created a fireball up to 1,000 feet high, blasting a crater 167 feet wide and measuring as a magnitude-1.1 earthquake.

A spokesperson for PG&E said settlements were reached with 347 victims of the incident on Friday and Monday, and the company had previously reached settlements with 152 others. Two cases remain.

The $565 million includes $455 million that the utility had already pledged and $110 million in recent settlements and claims.

Altogether, 499 people will share the money, ranging from the families of residents who were killed, to people who suffered serious burns and families with minor property damage. The exact amounts per victim vary widely, and were not made public due to confidentiality clauses in the settlement agreements.

For more information on the settlement, click here for LA Times coverage; here for San Jose Mercury News coverage; and here for Bloomberg.



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