Small fire in Santa Rosa rekindles PG&E concerns

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- A PG&E regulator on a power pole started a fire along Summerfield Road in Santa Rosa Wednesday night. It burned less than an acre, due partly to the cut-back weeds, but this is not a confidence-builder for residents.

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Less than one week ago, Cal Fire blamed PG&E equipment for additional starts in the North Bay firestorms.

Suffice to say, it's bad timing for a utility trying to reassure customers.

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The neighbor who took Wednesday night's photo says the PG&E regulator, "exploded and lit up my living room. I was scared. We were ready to go."

She and her husband just bought the home last Valentine's Day. Had winds been blowing and the weeds not been abated, Santa Rosa Fire says the blaze had potential be much worse.

PG&E released a statement on Thursday, saying:

"We fully understand the concerns of our customers when they hear of incidents such as this. We want to assure them that their safety and the safety of our communities is always our top priority. PG&E has a comprehensive and rigorous maintenance and inspection program for its assets involving regular patrols, detailed inspections, testing, repairs and replacements - all designed to identify and address safety or reliability issues. The electric-system assets, like the one involved in last night's outage, are inspected annually. All overhead lines receive a detailed inspection every five years. In the last five years, PG&E has invested $15 billion to enhance and harden the electric system to deliver safe and reliable energy to our customers, and that focus and investment will continue. We continue to investigate this incident."

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