Officials from the city of San Bruno, California, have sought to resume talks with PG&E Corp. (PCG:US), as state regulators move closer to a decision on penalties for a 2010 natural gas pipeline explosion that killed eight people.
“We have never met with Mr. Earley,” the chairman and chief executive officer of San Francisco-based PG&E, City Manager Connie Jackson said in an interview at Bloomberg headquarters today. PG&E ended settlement talks last year and has rejected the city’s overtures to resume negotiations. Earley, who took over in 2011, canceled a planned April 30 meeting as his office expressed “a level of dissatisfaction” with press statements the city made, she said.
Earley said in an August interview that a recommended $2.25 billion penalty for the pipeline explosion in the San Francisco suburb may force the company into bankruptcy. San Bruno said the company’s own expert witness has refuted that notion. The recent discovery of corrosion on a pipeline under the nearby city of San Carlos is an indicator PG&E hasn’t learned from the incident, Jackson said.
“They do have to pay and it has to hurt,” San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane said in the interview. “Not to the point where they’re out of business, nobody wants that.”
PG&E had no immediate comment on the city’s statements.
Time is running out for settlement talks between the city and PG&E as the agency process nears its conclusion, Jackson said. The commission’s administrative law judges have been working on penalty rulings for some time, Steven Meyers, an attorney with Oakland, California-based Meyers Nave, said in the interview today.
“We expect that within the next two months we’ll be seeing some conclusion from the ALJs,” he said.
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