Probe Finds PG&E Failed to Inspect Transmission Lines That Caused 2018 Wildfire

Bankrupt California power producer PG&E Corp. did not properly inspect and replace transmission lines before a faulty wire sparked a wildfire that killed more than 80 people in 2018, a probe by a state regulator has concluded.

The Caribou-Palermo transmission line was identified as the cause of the Camp Fire last year, which virtually incinerated the Northern California town of Paradise and stands as the state’s most lethal blaze.

California Utility Creates New Tech to Stop Wildfires

(TNS) — California utilities are experimenting with a new technology that proponents say could help prevent both electricity shutoffs and equipment failure-related wildfires.

The technology comes as the Pacific Gas & Electric faces intense criticism over its Public Safety Power Shutoff program, which has led to hundreds of thousands of Californians being left without power, often for days at a time, in an effort to prevent failing equipment from starting wildfires.

PG&E Cuts Power to 50K California Homes And Businesses During Wildfire Risk

About 50,000 homes and businesses across Northern California were without power on Wednesday during the latest planned outage instituted by utility Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to guard against risk of wildfire during dry, windy weather.

The precautionary shutoffs included considerably fewer customers than originally projected as a spokeswoman for the utility said improving weather conditions allowed them to keep the lights on in many areas.

Bankrupt PG&E Has a New Plan for California Wildfire Victims

(TNS) — PG&E Corp., struggling to regain control of its destiny as its bankruptcy case enters a pivotal phase, sweetened its offer to Northern California wildfire victims Monday, putting billions of additional dollars on the table to settle claims.

Under increasing pressure from Gov. Gavin Newsom, the utility’s own bondholders and a consortium of municipalities trying to take over the company, PG&E said it would spend an additional $6.6 billion on wildfire claims, a move that could give the troubled utility a greater likelihood of surviving bankruptcy with its business intact.

900,000 Californians Prepare for Another Blackout Wednesday

(TNS) — More than 900,000 people in 25 California counties — including every Bay Area county but San Francisco — could lose power starting Wednesday as windy, dry conditions will greatly increase fire risk.

PG&E said Monday that 303,000 homes and businesses — each one roughly equivalent to 3 people — could be impacted as the company tries to stop its power lines from starting more fires. In the Bay Area, about 115,000 homes and businesses, equivalent to 345,000 people, could be impacted.

PG&E Warns of Possible Northern California Blackouts at Mid-Week

PG&E Corp. is warning a quarter-million homes and businesses could lose power in northern California starting Wednesday as high winds return to the region.

A fire weather watch has been issued by the National Weather Service for parts of northern California from late Tuesday night to Thursday morning. PG&E said in a statement overnight it may cut power to customers in the North Bay, North Valley and the foothills of the Sierra Nevada due to the forecast.

Latest PG&E Power Shutdown Left Marin County, Calif., with Safety Concerns

(TNS) - Last month’s power shutdowns by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. left nagging questions about Marin County’s communications system and whether senior housing facilities in the county are prepared for the next shutdown.

On Oct. 27, when PG&E switched off electricity to most of Marin, nearly 50 percent of the county’s cell phone transmission sites failed. The next day 57 percent of the cell sites, 134 transmitters, were down in Marin, and the day after that more than 35 percent of the sites remained offline. No other county in the state had its communications system disrupted to this extent by the power outage.

Ten More Years of Power Shut-Offs in California’s Future, PG&E says

(TNS) - California residents face up to 10 years of widespread, precautionary forced power shut-offs until Pacific Gas & Electric Corp., the bankrupt utility giant, will be able to prevent its power transmission lines from sparking fires, the company’s top official said.

The sobering projection came from company Chief Executive William D. Johnson at an emergency meeting Friday of the California Public Utilities Commission in San Francisco.

What’s Next: Will PG&E Blackouts Happen Again in California?

(TNS) — The inventory of woes from last week’s PG&E’s power shutdown across Northern and Central California continues to come in:

Students at UC Berkeley worrying that the intentional outage may have resulted in the loss of two years of research into fighting drug-resistant forms of cancer. Businesses that lost income from the cutoff even as PG&E’s website crash sowed widespread confusion and chaos. Reports of vehicle collisions at intersections where the power to traffic lights had been cut. And scores of elderly people and others whose lives are dependent on electricity living through desperate hours of wondering how they’d manage to get by until power was restored.

California Tempers Flare: Will Power Outages Prevent Wildfires?

(TNS) — Classes were canceled. Frozen foods melted. Hospitals switched to emergency generators. Blooms withered in florists’ coolers. Unused food was jettisoned at shuttered restaurants. Lines formed at gas stations. Cellphones faded out.

That’s what happened Wednesday when the state’s largest utility shut off power to millions of Californians in a drastic attempt to avoid the killer wildfires that have charred hundreds of thousands of acres, caused billions of dollars in damage and spurred cries for widespread change in how electricity is delivered over the state’s aging grid.

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