California lawmakers investigating a deadly pipeline explosion say they may need to change state law to increase penalties when utilities ignore problems that lead to injuries or death.

Lawmakers in a hearing Tuesday state regulatory agencies for not adequately overseeing decisions by Pacific Gas & Electric Co.

The state's largest utility had shifted money away from some repairs, including to the natural gas pipeline that exploded last month in San Bruno, destroying part of a neighborhood and killing eight residents.

Officials from the California Public Utilities Commission say they allow utilities to decide where to spend the money they receive from ratepayers.

Five families affected by the blast sued the utility on Tuesday, claiming negligence in maintaining the pipeline. The cause of the pipeline rupture remains under investigation.