May 29, 2012 / 2:56 PM / 7 years ago

UPDATE 1-PG&E utility found violating safety standards

May 29 (Reuters) - Pacific Gas and Electric Co, a PG&E Corp unit, may have to pay significant penalties for violating standards related to running high-pressure natural gas pipelines at or near densely populated areas.

PG&E has been under intense scrutiny after a pipeline blast in 2010 killed eight people in the California city of San Bruno. In March, the utility agreed to pay $70 million to resolve and settle related claims.

Pacific Gas’s failure to properly classify its pipelines and document past patrols of the transmission lines led to 3,062 violations of state and federal standards, PG&E said in a regulatory filing on Tuesday, citing a regulatory report.

The duration of the violations was equivalent to more than 15 million days, according to the report by the Consumer Protection and Safety Division of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

The report urged the CPUC to levy significant penalties but did not recommend a specific amount, PG&E said.

Pacific Gas, which has it operations in northern and central California, could be fined up to $20,000 per day for each violation that occurred after Jan. 1, 1993 and before Jan. 1 this year.

The fines may go up to $50,000 for violations that occurred on or after Jan. 1 this year, PG&E said in the filing.

Pacific Gas can respond to the report by July 23, PG&E said.

PG&E’s shares fell 18 cents to $43.56 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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