PG&E opposes judge's ideas to prevent wildfires

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Pacific Gas and Electric pushed back Wednesday against a tentative order by U.S. District Judge William Alsup.

Last week, Alsup recommended PG&E re-inspect all of its electrical grid, and remove or trim trees that could fall onto power lines. He also recommended they rate each segment of the grid for safety and supply power only through those lines determined to be safe for the wind conditions at the time

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But, PG&E opposed the order in their answer filed Wednesday afternoon, saying it gives them only two options, "Either remove an extraordinary number of trees across every segment of its electric grid within six months or instead de-energize transmission and distribution lines, shutting off power across Northern California and potentially beyond."

Former California Public Utilities Commissioner Catherine Sandoval told us, "PG&E has made it clear they're going to be very aggressive in court and not simply agree. So, what I'm really waiting to hear from is the California Public Utilities Commission and Cal Fire."

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In Wednesday's response filed in Federal Court, "PG&E does agree with the Court that vegetation presents an acute risk of wildfire ignition across PG&E's service territory."

Judge Alsup asked PG&E to comment on his finding about "the single most recurring cause of the 2017 and 2018 wildfires attributable to PG&E equipment". He wrote its power lines are susceptible "to trees or limbs falling onto the lines during high wind events."

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Judge Alsup will take up these issues at a hearing in San Francisco on January 30th.

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