The Latest: Judge postpones sentencing of utility in blast

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Posted: Jan 23, 2017 7:31 PM
The Latest: Judge postpones sentencing of utility in blast

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Latest on a sentencing hearing for Pacific Gas & Electric Co. in a criminal case tied to a deadly blast in the San Francisco Bay Area (all times local):

4:30 p.m:

A federal judge says he is inclined to require Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to mention its criminal convictions in ads and conduct community service as part of its sentence in a criminal case stemming from a deadly natural gas explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area.

U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson was scheduled to issue his sentence on Monday, but pushed the decision back. Henderson said he needed more time to consider comments by attorneys for the government and PG&E.

PG&E attorney Steve Bauer says the company is prepared to pay the maximum $3 million fine it faces and has agreed to a monitor to oversee its operations as part of any sentence. But he asked Henderson to set a time limit on the ads and link them to efforts to improve safety.

3:45 p.m.

Victims of a deadly natural gas pipeline explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area say they remain traumatized by the blast and want a judge to issue a sentence against Pacific Gas & Electric Co. that changes the company.

Three blast victims spoke Monday during a sentencing hearing.

A jury previously convicted the company of deliberately violating pipeline safety regulations before the 2010 blast in San Bruno and then misleading investigators looking into the blast.

The blast killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes.

Sue Bullis said at the hearing that she lost her husband, son and mother-in-law in the blast and still suffers from anxiety and depression. She called on the judge to impose an independent monitor to oversee the utility.

PG&E is also facing a maximum $3 million fine.

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1 a.m.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. says it is prepared to pay the maximum fine of $3 million after a jury convicted the company of deliberately violating pipeline safety regulations before a deadly natural gas pipeline explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area and then misleading investigators looking into the blast.

But California's largest utility is asking a federal judge not to restructure its bonus program for employees or require an advertising campaign publicizing its conviction. U.S. District Court Judge Thelton Henderson is scheduled to sentence PG&E on Monday, and prosecutors want him to impose the bonus and advertising requirements. They say a $3 million fine alone would be a "drop in the bucket" for PG&E.

The 2010 blast of a PG&E natural gas pipeline killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes in the city of San Bruno.