PG&E faces more oversight over fire risk mitigation

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – The California Public Utilities Commission has issued a proposal that, if approved, would place PG&E into the first step of an enhanced oversight and enforcement process.

It would be based on the company’s failure to prioritize clearing vegetation on its highest risk power lines, as part of its wildfire mitigation work in 2020.

San Rafael is listed as one of the high-risk areas of PG&E’s power line circuits. This enhanced oversight proposal is one of six steps.

“This is the first step where the CPUC is saying hey we want to know how you plan to kind of write this ship and also why are you doing it this way, I mean it makes no sense at all and so looking for an explanation of what’s going on,” Mike Danko said. 

Mike Danko, an attorney for wildfire victims, is referring to the 16-page draft proposal from the California Public Utilities Commission proposing PG&E to go into an enhanced oversight process.

The commission approved PG&E’s bankruptcy plan of reorganization with conditions and modifications.

That decision established the oversight process.

That would require the company to report corrective actions intended to ensure the utility’s safety performance.

The company facing more than $50-billion in claimed losses from a series of deadly wildfires ignited by its outdated electrical equipment.

“If there was ever a company in need of enhanced oversight it’s surely PG&E,” Mindy Spatt said. 

Mindy Spatt is with Turn Utility Reform Network. She says the CPUC’s proposal took too long.

“We really don’t want to have every year, the same things happening. This yucky combination of fires and shutoffs,” Spatt said. 

In a statement the utility says quote:

“PG&E shares the CPUC’s focus on safety and recognizes that we must take a leading role in reducing the risk of wildfires throughout our service area. We understand that the most important responsibility that we have as a company and as individuals is to keep our customers, communities and our workforce safe. That is our focus every day, we know we have more to do, and we are committed to doing it the right way.”

PG&E is required to submit a corrective action plan within about 3 weeks.

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