A Pacific Gas and Electric truck drives past a PG&E location in San Francisco, Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
FILE - A Pacific Gas and Electric truck drives past a PG&E location in San Francisco, Feb. 20, 2020.

California power regulators Thursday proposed a higher fine on the already-bankrupt Pacific Gas & Electric for its responsibility for the deadly wildfires that swept Northern California in 2017 and 2018.

An administrative law judge moved to increase the penalty from the $1.7 billion agreed to in the settlement reached in December to $2.14 billion.

The California Public Utilities Commission said that would be the largest fine ever imposed, but several consumer groups had protested the December settlement as too lenient for destruction of such magnitude.
   
PG&E officials expressed disappointment about the increased fine, saying that they were "working diligently over many months with multiple parties" to reach the previous deal.

The increased penalty would become final if PG&E agrees within 20 days.

The wildfires erupted due to the PG&E's outdated electrical grid and negligence, and killed about 130 people and destroyed nearly 28,000 homes and other buildings.

More than 81,000 claims have been filed in the PG&E bankruptcy case.