Judge proposes ordering PG&E to shut off power for wildfires

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A federal judge issued a proposed order that would restrict PG&E from using power lines deemed to be unsafe in high winds during the 2019 fire season which would mean cutting off power to customers regardless of inconvenience or loss of profit.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup also proposed that PG&E be required to re-inspect its entire grid and "remove or trim all trees that could fall onto its power lines."

An inspection of PG&E's entire grid would be an enormous undertaking. The utility maintains 106,000 miles of distribution lines in the state. PG&E has two weeks to respond.

CAL Fire is still investigating the cause of the Camp Fire in Butte County last year in which 86 people died. But investigators recently determined that PG&E caused 18 wildfires in 2017 and the utility faces a possible criminal prosecution as a result.

Wednesday night, PG&E released a statement saying in part:

"We are committed to complying with all rules and regulations that apply to our work, while working together with our state and community partners and across all sectors and disciplines to develop comprehensive, long-term safety solutions for the future."

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