Top image credit: Photo from Getty Images An article recently published by Mercury News alleges that California’s utilities – including Pacific Gas and Electric, currently under investigation related to the deadly North Bay wildfires – helped stall the state’s efforts to map where the companies’ power lines were prone to wildfires. Back in 2007, downed electrical lines ignited several catastrophic fires in the San Diego region. The California Public Utilities Commission had then planned to tighten utility regulations related to that issue, and create detailed maps of the lines which were at highest risk for wildfires. Yet in the decade since then, utilities have repeatedly moved to slow down the effort, arguing as recently as July that certain proposed regulations would “add unnecessary costs to construction and maintenance projects in rural areas.” The last delay was granted just two days before the outbreak of the deadliestwildfires in California’s history. PG&E was already facing scrutiny over the possibility its grid infrastructure may have sparked a blaze, and reports over the mapping project delays add to the pressure.
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