One of the country's largest utility companies is set to face a jury in a criminal trial accusing it of obstructing investigators in the wake of a deadly pipeline explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The September 2010 blast of a Pacific Gas & Electric Co. natural gas pipeline sent a giant plume of fire into the air in a neighborhood in San Bruno, killing eight people and destroying 38 homes. During the investigation that followed, prosecutors say the San Francisco-based utility misled federal officials about the standard it was using to identify high risk pipelines. Opening statements in the trial are scheduled to start Thursday.

PG&E has pleaded not guilty to obstruction and other charges in the case.