Quantcast
Connect with us

PG&E says it will cost them up to $150 billion to comply with wildfire prevention judge ordered

Published

on

California power company PG&E Corp, which expects to soon file for bankruptcy, said on Wednesday it would cost between $75 billion and $150 billion to fully comply with a judge’s order to inspect its power grid and remove or trim trees that could fall into power lines and trigger wildfires.

PG&E said in a filing in U.S. District Court in San Francisco that it could not on its own afford the work proposed in a Jan. 9 order by U.S. District Judge William Alsup, who is overseeing conditions of the company’s probation following a 2010 gas pipeline explosion.

ADVERTISEMENT

To pay for the proposed work, PG&E said it would have to pass the bill to ratepayers who get their power from the utility company’s nearly 100,000 miles (161,000 km) of overhead lines in northern California.

“PG&E would inevitably need to turn to California ratepayers for funding, resulting in a substantial increase – an estimated one-year increase of more than five times current rates in typical utility bills,” the company said.

PG&E, which provides electricity and natural gas to 16 million customers in northern and central California, is facing widespread litigation, government investigations and liabilities that could top $30 billion following fatal wildfires in 2017 and 2018.

On Tuesday, PG&E said it had secured $5.5 billion in financing from four banks as it prepares to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on or about Jan. 29.

ADVERTISEMENT

The utility on Wednesday estimated it would have to remove 100 million trees or more to safeguard power lines, a campaign that would face “myriad legal obstacles to reconfiguring the California landscape,” as it would require contending with state and federal agencies as well as private property owners.

A proposal to restrict using power lines deemed unsafe during high winds is not feasible because lines traverse rural areas to service urban zones, while “de-energization” of lines could also affect the power grid in other states, PG&E said.

State Senator Bill Dodd questioned PG&E’s filing, underscoring the frustration of many California policymakers after they approved legislation last year to let utilities recover some of the costs related to wildfires in 2017 and others starting in 2019.

ADVERTISEMENT

The legislation, which critics called a bailout, did not make provisions for fires last year and it was approved before November’s Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California’s history.

“PG&E’s mismanagement and lack of credibility casts doubt over anything they put forward,” Dodd told Reuters in an email. “The company can and must do more to ensure safety, and I expect the court and regulators will make that happen.”

In separate court papers citing concerns about the complexity of regulations around PG&E’s power transmission, the U.S. government recommended a court-assigned monitor review Alsup’s proposals and consult with relevant agencies to reach “workable” terms for the company.

ADVERTISEMENT

The government said the monitor is “in the best position to determine whether wildfires can be prevented by fixing gaps in the currently regulatory scheme, or by improving PG&E’s compliance with current regulations.”

While PG&E questioned the judge’s proposals, the company said it has no issue with the monitor checking its efforts to mitigate wildfire risks.

Alsup’s order would modify terms of PG&E’s probation. He will hold a hearing on the new terms on Jan. 30.

ADVERTISEMENT

Reporting by Jim Christie; editing by Richard Pullin


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

2020 Election

Virginia was the bellwether of 2017’s big blue wave — but could it happen again?

Published

on

In November 2017, powered by a surge of grassroots activism one year after Donald Trump’s election, Democrats wiped out a Republican supermajority in the Virginia House of Delegates, and came within one disputed ballot and a random drawing of sharing power in a 50-50 chamber — an early harbinger of the 2018 blue wave. Now they’re back to finish the job, aiming to recapture control of both legislative chambers for the first time in 26 years and set the tone for the 2020 election.

Swing Left, a key player in flipping the House of Representatives last year, has targeted 15 races in the House of Delegates and five in the State Senate. Their main focus is people power, but they’ve also raised more than $550,000 in grassroots donations as of Sept. 11. Just two seats are needed to flip each chamber, and a court-ordered redistricting has made flipping the House much more doable.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘Did Obama know?’ Rudy Giuliani flings wild new accusations against Biden in overnight tweet rant

Published

on

President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani hurled accusations of Ukraine corruption at Joe Biden and his son in a series of middle-of-the-night tweets.

The president admitted Sunday to speaking to Ukraine's president about an investigation of Hunter Biden's business dealings with a natural gas company in the country, after a series of reports revealed his efforts to pressure that government to come up with dirt on the former vice president.

Early Monday morning, Giuliani accused Kiev of laundering $3 million to Hunter Biden and suggested the Obama administration was aware but did nothing, although the former New York City mayor offered no supporting evidence of those allegations.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Chronically underpaid EMTs are being assaulted at record rates

Published

on

If Upton Sinclair were to write the modern equivalent to “The Jungle,” he might make the setting the metaphorical meat grinder of today’s emergency medical services industry.

Across the nation, emergency medical service professionals, the front-line workforce upon which so much of a patient outcome rests, are grossly underpaid for brutal work schedules that put them at risk of both serious physical injury and burnout.

The cherry on the top of this abuse sundae is that they are 14 times more likely to be violently assaulted on the job than a firefighter.

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Investigate and Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image