PG&E Not Committing to Expanding Tree-Trimming Force in California

Lawyers for Pacific Gas & Electric said the utility can’t commit to hiring hundreds more tree trimmers in the way that a federal judge wants to cut the risk of starting more catastrophic wildfires in California.

U.S. District Judge William Alsap ordered the utility last month to add at least 1,100 more tree trimmers to help prevent trees and branches from falling onto its power lines and igniting. The judge is overseeing PG&E’s criminal probation imposed after its natural gas lines blew up a San Francisco Bay Area neighborhood and killed eight people in 2010. He has taken a strong interest in PG&E’s safety record after the company’s power lines started a series of wildfires that killed 130 people and destroyed thousands of homes.

PG&E Fires Contractor After Probe Involving California Wildfires

Pacific Gas & Electric has fired a contractor hired to haul debris from the site of a deadly 2018 Northern California wildfire, saying the company was over-billing the utility and paying “large sums of money and gifts” to two utility supervisors.

PG&E Chief Executive Bill Johnson said in a memo to employees that the two supervisors “are no longer with the company,” The Sacramento Bee reported.

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.

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