Judge recommends raising PG&E fine in explosion

September 30, 2011 9:31:08 AM PDT
An administrative law judge has now rejected a $26 million fine against PG&E. He says it's too lenient, and is recommending a higher penalty.

The case stems from a gas leak that triggered a deadly explosion near Sacramento on Christmas Eve of 2008. One person died and two others suffered very serious burns. The blast happened after gas leaked from a distribution line that PG&E had repaired earlier using substandard pipe.

An administrative law judge for the state public utilities commission says the fine the utility had agreed to with state regulators should be raised to $38 million. If upheld it would be the largest regulatory penalty ever against a state utility.