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CA Public Advocates Office identifies 'serious' flaws in PG&E wildfire safety plan

The CPUC’s Public Advocates Office is recommending the CPUC reject PG&E’s plan until the serious flaws are fixed in its wildfire safety plans.

Posted: Apr 14, 2021 4:33 PM
Updated: Apr 15, 2021 8:41 AM

CHICO, Calif. – The CPUC’s Public Advocates Office is recommending the CPUC reject PG&E’s plan until the serious flaws are fixed in its wildfire safety plans.

The advocate's office is claiming that PG&E is following a “pattern” of ignoring wildfire safety recommendations.

They claim that PG&E's 2021 Wildfire Safety Plan falls short, pointing to shoddy management, neglecting inspections in high-risk areas. It claims the utility is upgrading grids in mostly low-risk areas. The office also claims PG&E sent arborists to verify tree-trimming that had not been done yet.

The CPUC's Public Advocates Office wants the CPUC to reject PG&E's Wildfire Safety Plan until it makes immediate changes.

PG&E responded by saying it shares these goals and will work with regulators to refine its plan. PG&E's full response can be read below.

“We appreciate the thorough and careful review by all stakeholders of PG&E’s 2021 Wildfire Mitigation Plan. We all share the goal of addressing the growing wildfire risk in California, and we look forward to working with our regulators, community partners and other stakeholders to develop and refine our wildfire mitigation plan. PG&E is focused on further improving the quality and consistency of our work as we strive to uphold our most important responsibility, which is the safety of our customers and the communities we are privileged to serve.

"We reviewed Cal Advocates’ comments and addressed them in detail in our reply comments. Our 2021 WMP highlighted many of the ways we prioritized customer safety including: conducting more than 1,800 miles of enhanced vegetation management, 342 miles of system hardening, the installation of more than 600 weather stations and high definition cameras, and the installation of more than 603 sectionalizing devices, which allowed for a reduction in the scope and impact of PSPS events in 2020. We also recognized some gaps in 2020 and offered specific plans for addressing those gaps in 2021. Our employees accomplished much for our customers, and we look forward to working with Cal Advocates, the CPUC, Wildfire Safety Division and other stakeholders to continue improving our performance and addressing the state’s ever-growing wildfire risk.”

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Another disturbance will cross northern California through tomorrow. The biggest effect will be stronger wind in the valley tonight through Thursday. There are no watches or warnings for fire danger, but the wind won't help.
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