CPUC Launches Investigation into PG&E and SCE After Deadly Fires

The California Public Utilities Commissions (CPUC) announced Monday it has launched investigations into the regulatory compliance of electric facilities owned by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE) after their suspected relation to three deadly fires.

While CalFire has not made an official determination of the causes of the Woolsey and Camp Fires, problems with a PG&E transmission line around the source of Butte County's Camp Fire and with SCE transmission lines near the source of Los Angeles County's Woolsey Fire have people pointing fingers the utility companies for their lack of maintenance in prime fire season weather. 

Both utility companies could now face serious problems as attorneys are preparing to file lawsuits for property loss.

If SCE or PG&E equipment started the respective fires in question, utilities would be on the hook for the resulting damage whether or not they were negligent.

PG&E has been in hot water for some time as they warned of potential bankruptcy earlier this summer based on the increasing costs of other wildfire liability in 2017. The additional liability from the destruction of the deadly Camp Fire would add to the mess. More than 7,000 buildings have burned as a result of the blaze.

The CPUC probes will "assess the compliance of electric facilities with applicable rules and regulations in fire impacted areas," CPUC spokesperson Terrie Prosper told the Mercury News. "The CPUC staff investigations may include an inspection of the fire sites once Cal Fire allows access, as well as maintenance of facilities, vegetation management, and emergency preparedness and response."

Photo: Getty Images

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