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PG&E Blasts San Bruno Pipe Lawsuit Allegations

Under fire in lawsuits filed on behalf of victims of the San Bruno pipeline rupture last September, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) fired back at its accusers, saying it was not blaming residents and other third-parties for the natural gas transmission line explosion.

PG&E made a filing in a California Superior Court in San Mateo County in response to what it said were several media outlets inaccurately describing the intent of an earlier response by the utility to lawsuits filed in the aftermath of the explosion. The legal actions are consolidated before Superior Court Judge Steven Dylina, in Department 7, San Mateo County.

"We want it to be crystal clear that no one at PG&E would suggest that the plaintiffs or residents of San Bruno impacted by this accident are somehow at fault for the tragedy," the utility said. "Since the night of Sept. 9, 2010, PG&E has been focused on helping the families affected by this accident. We want to reiterate PG&E's commitment to stand by the people and community of San Bruno."

News reports have alleged that language in a July 5 utility filing was intended to implicate the city of San Bruno's sewer replacement project as the cause of the accident. The language in the filing did not name the city of San Bruno or any third party, PG&E said.

"The National Transportation Safety Board [NTSB] has not determined the cause of the San Bruno accident and has said it will release its report before the end of the year. PG&E continues to work with the NTSB and California's Public Utilities Commission on their investigations," a utility spokesperson said.

"The July 5 filing was a legal response to a very broad lawsuit containing a long list of possible legal claims. We also want it to be equally clear that, contrary to news reports, residents who received financial assistance from PG&E after the accident will not be asked to repay those funds or to forego the right to pursue legal claims for damages.

"We gave our word at the time that this assistance came with no strings attached. We stand by that pledge."

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