Obtained full compensation from PG&E for 8 families who lost all of their possessions in a natural gas explosion at an apartment complex in Santa Clara in January 1997. PG&E's gas regulator was defective and allowed natural gas to leak during a tent termite fumigation. A spark from a fan ignited the gas and the resulting explosion destroyed much of a city block. PG&E refused to accept responsibility and insisted that the fumigator was totally responsible. PG&E turned the victims out in the streets with no home, no clothes and no possessions. Mr. Collins was able to show that PG&E knew for years before the explosion that it had thousands of defective regulators that urgently needed to be replaced. Mr. Collins was able to show that PG&E obtained a $100 million rate increase from the California Public Utilities Commission to replace the defective regulators. The utility accepted the money from the public but failed to complete the replacement program. After securing the funds which were to have been spent on the regulator replacement program, the utility willfully concealed the fact that they did not complete the program. After Mr. Collins brought this information to public light, PG&E made full restitution to each displaced family. (The amount of the settlement is protected from disclosure by a confidentiality agreement) Subsequent to this litigation and as a result of our disclosure of the facts, the Public Utility Commission imposed a $1 million penalty against PG&E.

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