SAN FRANCISCO – A federal jury has found California’s largest utility guilty of obstructing investigators about how it was identifying high-risk pipelines after a deadly gas line explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The jury returned its verdict Tuesday against Pacific Gas & Electric Co.
The blast of the natural gas pipeline six years ago killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes.
During the investigation that followed, prosecutors say, the San Francisco-based utility misled federal officials about the standard it was using to identify high-risk pipelines.
PG&E said its employees did the best they could with ambiguous regulations they struggled to understand.
The stakes in the case fell dramatically when prosecutors recently decided not to pursue a potential $562 million penalty if the company was found guilty.