Report detailing PG&E’s failures raises new hurdles for utility

Source: Ivan Penn & Peter Eavis, New York Times (Paid Registration)

A damning report about the cause of the deadliest wildfire in California history poses a huge setback to Pacific Gas & Electric as it tries to resolve a complex bankruptcy and prove to its customers and elected officials that it takes safety seriously. PG&E repeatedly failed to properly maintain a power line built nearly a century ago even though it cuts through a heavily wooded and mountainous area that experiences strong winds, a 700-page report by the California Public Utilities Commission concluded. A live wire broke from the line, called the Caribou-Palermo, in November 2018 and ignited the Camp Fire, which killed 85 people and destroyed the town of Paradise.

Critics of the company, including a group of California mayors and Gov. Gavin Newsom, have proposed selling PG&E to Warren E. Buffett’s holding company, breaking it up, having the state take it over or turning it into a cooperative owned by its customers.

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