SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The California Public Utilities Commission is poised to investigate whether Pacific Gas & Electric Co. broke state or federal pipeline regulations in the years leading up to the fatal San Bruno blast.

In the coming months, agency investigators will testify before an administrative law judge about the company’s actions before last year’s explosion. The Sept. 9, 2010 pipeline rupture killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes in the San Francisco suburb.

Commissioners voted Thursday to authorize the legal procedure, which will examine PG&E’s system for classifying the risk of pipelines in urban areas, as well as the company’s standards for studying, patrolling and surveying their lines.

The process ultimately could lead to statutory penalties and fines of up to $20,000 per day for violations of state and federal laws.