A significant step has been taken in addressing the aftermath of the 2015 Aliso Canyon gas leak near Porter Ranch, California.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has announced a $71 million settlement with Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas), the company responsible for the leak. This incident, the largest gas leak in U.S. history, forced thousands of residents to evacuate their homes.
The settlement agreement, which will take effect in 30 days unless appealed, requires SoCalGas to pay $71 million into the Aliso Canyon Recovery Account.
This account was established by the state Legislature to handle issues arising from the leak, including concerns related to air quality and public health. The settlement also prevents SoCalGas from passing on the costs of the settlement or other financial impacts of the leak to ratepayers.
Costs and Accountability
SoCalGas cannot seek rate increases over the next five years without confirming that the hikes will not be used to offset any costs related to the Aliso Canyon leak, as specified in the settlement. The specified expenses include government agency settlements, costs of housing displaced residents, studying the leak’s causes, and legal fees.
In 2016, SoCalGas pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of failing to promptly report the gas leak. As part of a $4 million settlement, the company was required to install and maintain an infrared methane monitoring system at the Aliso Canyon site.
The tweet below verifies the news:
Compounding the financial fallout from the largest gas leak in U.S. history, the California Public Utilities Commission announced Thursday it has agreed to a $71 million settlement with Southern California Gas Co. over the 2015 Aliso Canyon leak.https://t.co/T4hYzg3bGq
— KNX News 97.1 FM (@knxnews) August 11, 2023
The settlement also called for the hiring of employees to operate and maintain the new leak-detection systems around the clock.
The Aliso Canyon gas leak, which lasted from October 2015 to February 2016, released nearly 100,000 tons of methane and other substances into the atmosphere over 118 days. The agreement aims to address the environmental and public health concerns caused by the leak, ensuring that SoCalGas takes responsibility for its impact on the community.
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