California’s biggest natural-gas utility was slapped with a $3.3-million fine on Friday, with state regulators accusing the company of putting its financial bottom line ahead of public safety by refusing to fully investigate a 2017 explosion that injured one person.
The California Public Utilities Commission said Southern California Gas Co. has failed to test a section of pipeline that was damaged in the Jan. 20, 2017, explosion in Ontario, Calif., to help determine the cause of the explosion. After initially agreeing to examine the pipeline, SoCalGas told commission staff last month that it was canceling the test until a lawsuit stemming from the explosion is resolved, the state agency said Friday.
In a citation notice, commission staff said the gas company’s decision to cancel the test was “irresponsible to the public safety and unacceptable” and “places fear of civil damages ahead of public safety.”
“Such actions are unbecoming of the largest [natural gas] distribution operator in the country,” the agency wrote.
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