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POSTED January 27, 2012 9:36 p.m.

PG&E FINED $16.8M FOR SHODDY GAS LEAK SURVEYS: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — State regulators plan to fine Pacific Gas & Electric Co. $16.8 million for failing to perform gas leak surveys in the wake of a deadly pipeline explosion in a San Francisco suburb in 2010.

The California Public Utilities Commission announced the fine Friday, as part of a new citation program that gives its staff oversight muscle to fine natural gas companies for safety problems spotted on their lines.

The Sept. 9, 2010 blast on the transmission line in San Bruno ignited a fireball that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes.

Last year, PG&E self-reported to the commission that the company did not perform pipeline leak surveys in several locations, in violation of state regulations. PG&E has 10 days to pay the fine using shareholder dollars, or appeal.

NORTH AMERICA BOOSTS FORD IN 4Q : DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford has shown it can make money even with U.S. car sales at depressed levels. Now it needs to show it can manage a myriad of challenges outside its home region.

North America was the only region where Ford Motor Co. saw profits rise in the fourth quarter and in all of 2011. Everywhere else the automaker lost money or saw profits fall, hurt by nervous consumers in Europe, flooding in Asia and aging products in South America. Costs rose faster than expected, too.

Ford reported $13.62 billion in net income, but investors brushed off the result because most of that came from an accounting change. Excluding that change, earnings totaled $1.1 billion, or 20 cents a share, down 15 percent from the fourth quarter of 2010. Ford missed Wall Street's expectations by 5 cents.

 

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