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

PG&E says its equipment may have started Camp fire in California

PG&E says it's 'probable' its equipment will be found responsible for the deadly Camp Fire

California State officials have suggested PG&E sell some of its operations, including its natural gas division, to pay wildfire claims.

The cause of the wildfire has not been determined, but the utility on Thursday said in a news release, "the company believes it is probable that its equipment will be determined to be an ignition point of the 2018 Camp Fire". The blaze destroyed 14,000 homes in and around the town of Paradise, which had a population of roughly 27,000 people.

PG&E has previously acknowledged that the Caribou-Palermo transmission line lost power right before the fire and was later found to be damaged. On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported PG&E delayed safety work on the transmission line after telling regulators it meant to replace towers and wires.

California fire investigators are still working to determine the cause of Camp Fire, which began on November 8, around the time a wire on the line snapped.

The company faces billions of dollars in possible liabilities and almost two dozen lawsuits from victims of the Camp Fire, including allegations of poor equipment maintenance.

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'We recognize that more must be done to adapt to and address the increasing threat of wildfires and extreme weather in order to keep our customers and communities safe, ' said John Simon, interim CEO of PG&E, in a statement.

PG&E filed for bankruptcy in January because of potential legal liabilities from two years of devastating wildfires in the state, including the Camp Fire.

"Management has concluded that these circumstances raise substantial doubt about PG&E corporation's and the utility's ability to continue as going concerns", the company said in the filing.

Subsequent inspections of this transmission line identified equipment that should have been repaired or replaced, the company said. One lawsuit claims the company misdirected "necessary safety-related expenditures" to boost the firm's bottom line and shareholder profits.

PG&E also said the story failed to point out the progress which has been made as a result of the NERC Alert program, which includes addressing more than 9,800 discrepancies out of approximately 11,500 identified for work, at a cost of over $700 million.

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