PG&E facing reprimands over alleged neglect of the grid

April 15, 2021

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) is considering reprimanding PG&E on Thursday for continuing to neglect its electrical grid that, in recent years, sparked large and deadly wildfires. [KCRA]

The reprimand could mark the first step in a process leading toward regulators eventually revoking PG&E’s utility license, in accordance with a deal reached last year during the company’s bankruptcy.

After negotiating $25.5 billion in settlements, PG&E promised to reduce the chance of its equipment causing more wildfires, pledging to spending $40 billion in the next decade. However, regulators allege PG&E has not done enough to mitigate the risks posed by crumbling equipment and overgrown trees that are susceptible to coming in contact with or falling on nearby power lines.

In a proceeding separate from Thursday’s hearing on the potential reprimand, the Public Advocates Office, a watchdog agency for the Public Utilities Commission, is recommending regulators reject PG&E’s plan to prevent wildfires this year. The agency says PG&E has trimmed trees and replaced equipment in the lowest risk areas of its grid instead of the most dangerous locations.

PG&E is unnecessarily endangering people and causing delays that could result in a 20-year wait before its electrical grid is reshaped, which would be about 10 years longer than the utility has estimated, the Public Advocates Office stated in a report.

PG&E replied to the Public Advocates Office, saying the agency ignored substantial progress and work on wildfire mitigation initiatives done by the utility. PG&E made a wide range of improvements and upgrades last year in order to reduce wildfire risk, according to PG&E. The company also discussed the scope of deliberate blackouts during high fire danger conditions.

The PUC is requiring PG&E to submit plans for fixing problems cited by regulators and then report on its progress every 90 days. If regulators find PG&E is still not protecting public safety, they could take tougher action against the utility and ultimately revoke its license.


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Buchon

All I know is that if govt takes over PG&E, prepare for constant brown-outs and regular blackouts — throughout the year…


Last Individual

And much larger electric bills.


Messkit

PGE wanted to either bury their mountain lines, or mount them to steel poles/towers to better preclude any damage from falling branches or trees. State said too environmentally damaging to do so.


PGE gets blamed for fires caused by wires strung through unattended forests on wood poles when falling branches and trees break them.


I suppose that will be one major plus of Diablo shutting down; not enough available energy to short out the wires when falling branches and trees….especially at night or cloudy days.


shelworth

The California government has used PG&E as a savings account for years, (not that PG&E is without blame in multiple shenanigans over the years) when ever the State needs (or wants) cash they just fine PG&E. A Google search will show dozens and dozens of fines over the years for fires (mostly deserved), and “poor record keeping” (10.8 million)? Multi-million dollars (some in the Billions! too). And now California is complaining that the Utility doesn’t keep it’s assets up to snuff?


kayaknut

PG&E better watch out or they will end up on double secret probation.