Judge grants PG&E's request to evade $565M in fines stemming from 2010 San Bruno explosion

- On Wednesday, Federal Judge Thelton Henderson granted PG&E's request to evade $565 million in fees if the utility giant is convicted of being criminally liable for a 2010 blast in San Bruno.

The fine for "gross losses" would have been $1.3 billion.

The new maximum fine that can be imposed on PG&E is $562 million.

This figure is based on the doubling of a $281 million fine, which is the amount of money calculated PG&E saved by not servicing the aging natural gas utility infrastructure. 

Federal prosecutors also considered the amount of "gross losses" the victims have faced, along with the total amount of settlements the utility giant has already finalized.

"PG&E's regulatory violations, which directly led to the San Bruno explosion, were motivated by the desire to maximize profits," the U.S. Attorney's Office says in court filings.

PG&E has pleaded not guilt to 28 counts, which includes 27 alleged violations of the pipeline safety act, and one count of obstruction of a federal investigation into the explosion.

PG&E's next day in court is on March 8 at the U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

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