Judge William Alsup of San Francisco has admonished Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. this week accusing the nation's largest utility of being more focused on taking care of their shareholders rather than preventing their power lines from causing anymore fires, the Associated Press reports.
The U.S judge has accused PG&E of making excuses on why the company claims they have to avoid turning off electricity when risk for fire is high. However, Judge Alsup hasn't immediately ordered the electric company to take any of the dramatic measures he has proposed in order to stop more wildfires. He is warning that he is not ruling out at least some new requirements on the company if they do not come up with any plans that attempt to solve the wildfire problem in the state.
“To my mind, there’s a very clear-cut pattern here: that PG&E is starting these fires,” Alsup said. “What do we do? Does the judge just turn a blind eye and say, ‘PG&E continue your business as usual. Kill more people by starting more fires.’”
The judge is overseeing a criminal conviction against PG&E for their pipeline safety charges that are responsible for a 2010 gas line explosion in the Bay Area eight people and destroyed 38 homes. Earlier this month, as part of PG&E's probation, he proposed that they remove or trim all trees that could fall onto its power lines when wind conditions are high and shut off power when there's a risk of fire regardless of loss of profit.
Pacific Gas & Electric is facing hundreds of lawsuits from victims of wildfires in 2017 and 2018, including the Camp Fire that destroyed 15,000 homes and killed at least 86 people. While the Camp Fire's cause is still under investigation. all signs point to PG&E after it was reported that there were power line problems nearby when the fire broke out.
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