NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- PG&E Corporation (PCG) said on Monday it would fight a dozen criminal charges filed against the California-based utility as a result of a September 2010 explosion of one of the company's pipelines in San Bruno, Calif. that killed eight people and injured 66.
The federal charges allege that PG&E willfully violated the Pipeline Safety Act in areas such as record keeping, pipeline integrity management and identification of pipeline threats. PG&E will fight the criminal charges; however, it has conceded negligence in civil litigation that paid out nearly $500 million to blast victims and their families.
PG&E paid $70 million to the city of San Bruno and said on Monday it has invested $2.7 billion in shareholder money toward safety improvements. The utility disclosed the prospect of an imminent criminal charge in a March filing with the Securities and Exchange.
Monday's criminal charges allege that PG&E violated the Pipeline Safety Act in its poor surveillance of pipelines. Specifically, the charges highlighted weak record keeping, pipeline integrity management and identification of pipeline threats, and allege that PG&E knowingly failed to fix safety shortfalls.
"As alleged in the indictment, PG&E knowingly and willfully failed to identify and evaluate threats to its transmission pipelines," California attorney general Kamala Harris said in a statement.
"Today's indictment is an important step in providing justice for the individuals, families and community devastated by the 2010 pipeline explosion and fire in San Bruno," Harris added.
"One of the worst natural gas disasters in American history was caused by PG&E's gross misconduct," San Bruno Mayor James Ruane said in a statement. "Its executives should get the harshest penalty to prevent this from ever happening again."