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PG&E delayed key power line safety overhaul — company shares slip

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Shares of PG&E Corp fell about 3 percent after federal filings showed that the power utility had delayed a safety overhaul of a high-voltage transmission line, a prime suspect behind the deadliest wildfire in California history.

The company filed for bankruptcy protection in January in anticipation of liabilities from the wildfires, including the catastrophic 2018 Camp Fire that killed 86 people.

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The plans to replace components of the Caribou-Palermo line have been in the works since at least 2013, filings with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission show.

The company said in 2017 that it would spend $30.3 million in 2018 to eliminate clearance issues on the line that were identified in 2013. The project was expected to be operative in December of 2018.

The Camp Fire broke out on the morning of Nov. 8 near the Northern California mountain community of Paradise. The cause of the blaze is still under investigation, though the utility reported to regulators that it experienced equipment problems on the Caribou-Palermo line around the time the fire began.

PG&E did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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The Wall Street Journal here in the day reported that the company had told federal regulators in 2013 it planned to replace many of the towers, wires and hardware pieces on the line.

PG&E provides electricity and natural gas to 16 million customers in northern and central California and employs 24,000 people.

The company is seeking court approval for $5.5 billion in debtor-in-possession financing from J.P. Morgan, Bank of America, Barclays, Citi, and other banks, the sum being roughly the same as the utility’s annual spending.

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PG&E has promised to keep working as it grapples with fire-related costs it estimates at more than $30 billion.

Shares of the company, which is due to report fourth-quarter results on Thursday, were down 3.1 percent at $17.94 in afternoon trading on Wednesday.

Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru and Nichola Groom in Los Angeles; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Sriraj Kalluvila

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Trump’s DOJ sent white nationalist blog post to judges — complete with anti-Semitic attacks

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On Thursday, BuzzFeed News reported that the Department of Justice sent a virulently racist blog post to immigration judges, from the infamous white nationalist blog VDare.

VDare, named after the first English child born in a New World possession, is known for peddling virulent racism. Its contributors have claimed that "America was defined — almost explicitly, sometimes very explicitly — as a white nation, for white people" and that "Jewish activity collectively, throughout history, is best understood as an elaborate and highly successful group competitive strategy directed against neighboring peoples and host societies."

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Donald Trump’s tax cut was even worse than we thought

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From the moment it was proposed, the Republicans’ 2017 tax cut law was criticized for benefiting corporations and wealthy Americans. doing comparatively little for low-income Americans, and needlessly blowing a hole in the federal deficit.

About a year and a half since its passage, the criticisms are looking apt. And none of the supposed benefits promised by Republicans — moderate and extremist alike — have materialized. No boom in business investment, no supercharged wages, and no phenomenal jobs growth.

In fact, as new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act appears to have done even less on the “jobs” side of the equation than we previously thought.

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Trump said he wouldn’t cut Medicare — now he says it could be a fun ‘second term project’

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It's unclear if President Donald Trump is trying to lose the 2020 election or he's simply spitballing with right-wing conservatives, but his latest idea is to gut Medicare in his second term according to the New York Times.

During the 2016 campaign there were at least six occasions in which Trump promised he would protect Medicare.

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