Tuesday Must Read: PG&E Wants Public to Help Pay for Blast; Brown’s Gaffe Could Be Costly



Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. PG&E is asking state regulators to allow it to pass the costs of the San Bruno blast and future explosions onto customers if they’re not covered by insurance, the Chron reports. The utility told the California Public Utilities Commission that it has $992 million in insurance coverage and a $10 million deductible, but “believes that most of the costs related to the San Bruno event will be covered.” However, if they’re not, PG&E is asking the PUC to allow it to force ratepayers to make up the difference. The PUC is scheduled to take up the issue today.

2. In an obvious PR move, PG&E also announced that it has set up a $100 million relief fund for the Peninsula disaster victims, the Chron adds. But that appears to be nowhere near enough to cover the utility’s costs from an explosion that destroyed a neighborhood. Earlier this year, the utility wasted more than $40 million on a failed statewide ballot measure — money it could have used to help defray the costs of the San Bruno disaster, or to better maintain and repair its aging network of pipelines.

3. Jerry Brown’s ill-advised decision to take an unfunny jab at Bill Clinton may end up costing him plenty. Calbuzz reports that the popular former president was prepared to campaign for Brown before the state attorney general dredged up the Monica Lewinsky affair in a Time magazine video. Brown apologized to Clinton yesterday, but it may be too little too late.

4. California public schools showed across-the-board test score gains, yet the number of schools that are “failing” under the federal No Child Left Behind law is skyrocketing, California Watch reports. Nearly 600 schools have been added to the failing list, increasing the number in California to 3,197.

5. Meanwhile, Top-Ed.com reports that the state’s test score gains appear to have been artificially juiced by easier tests given to kids with special needs.