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What Does PG&E Owe San Bruno?

A utility pole in San Bruno stands while fire from a gas pipeline explosion rages behind it
//yeti-cir-test.s3.amazonaws.com/uploaded/images/2010/9/san-bruno-fire-power-line/original/San Bruno fire power line.jpg
A utility pole in San Bruno stands while fire from a gas pipeline explosion rages behind it
 
City, utility resume settlement talks, after the mayor makes his case to reporters

PG&E has agreed to meet with San Bruno officials this week to resume negotiations with the city over millions of dollars in restitution the city is seeking for the fatal gas pipeline explosion in September 2010.

PG&E officials contacted city leaders Wednesday afternoon to arrange a meeting to continue compensation talks at the end of this week, San Bruno spokesman Sam Singer said.

"We're very pleased with PG&E's response," Singer said. "This is a step in the right direction to making the city whole."

Earlier Wednesday, San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane held a news conference to announce that negotiations with PG&E had stalled.

Ruane said he was "deeply concerned" that PG&E was dogging its responsibility to fairly compensate the community for the Sept. 9, 2010 explosion, which killed eight people, destroyed 38 homes and ravaged the Crestmoor Canyon neighborhood.

A yearlong federal investigation found that PG&E was primarily responsible for the disaster, citing a litany of operational failures that included a faulty seam on the decades-old pipeline that ruptured, inaccurate records and a lack of proper inspections that might have detected the imperfect pipe before it exploded.

PG&E established a $70 million trust fund to pay for "direct damages" of the explosion, such as destroyed pipelines, sewers, roads, trees, parks and vegetation.

Since August, the city has been in negotiations with PG&E to seek restitution "above and beyond the physical damage," which would help restore the spirit and fabric of the community that was ripped apart by the explosion, Ruane said.

"PG&E has within its power the ability to make this right," he said.

A settlement could provide endowment funds for large capital projects, such as a new community library or a sports facility for kids, Ruane said.

PG&E issued a statement Wednesday afternoon saying that the utility remains firmly committed to continuing to negotiate a settlement with the city.

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