PG&E Repeatedly Delayed Safety Work on Power Line Suspected in California Wildfire, Report Says

PG&E told regulators in 2013 that it intended to replace much of the infrastructure on the Caribou-Palermo line, including towers and wires, according to the report. However, the company resubmitted that plan in 2014, 2015, and 2016, postponing the planned work.

Pacific Gas & Electric Company delayed safety work on a century-old high-voltage transmission line suspected to have caused the deadliest wildfire in the history of California, the Wall Street Journal reported Feb. 27.

PG&E told regulators in 2013 that it intended to replace much of the infrastructure on the Caribou-Palermo line, including towers and wires, according to the newspaper's report. However, the company resubmitted that plan in 2014, 2015, and 2016, postponing the planned work. Most recently, the Journal reported, PG&E planned to begin work on the power line in June 2018 and finish later that year. That work has not begun.

PG&E faces at least $30 billion in potential liability costs related to wildfires in 2017 and 2018, many allegedly begun by the company’s equipment. The potential connection between PG&E equipment and these wildfires have led California officials to doubt the safety of the company's electric distribution system.

Investigations have determined that the company's equipment is liable in at least 17 major wildfires in 2017. California investigators are still exploring whether PG&E equipment was partially liable for the Camp Fire in November, which killed at least 86 people and destroyed about 14,000 homes. The Camp Fire was the state's deadliest fire.

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