California says PG&E power lines caused Camp Fire that killed 85

“Electrical transmission lines belonging to Pacific Gas & Electric caused the Camp Fire of 2018, California’s deadliest wildfire, a state agency concluded on Wednesday,” according to The New York Times.

“The fire, which started on Nov. 8, killed 85 people and destroyed nearly 19,000 homes, businesses and other buildings. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, said on Wednesday that, after a ‘very meticulous and thorough investigation,’ it had determined that the Camp Fire was caused by ‘electrical transmission lines owned and operated’ by PG&E. The company had said in February that its equipment had probably caused the fire.

“PG&E, the state’s largest electricity utility, filed for bankruptcy protection in January, saying that it faced an estimated $30 billion in wildfire liabilities. In a recent filing to securities regulators, the company estimated it would have $10.5 billion in liabilities for damage caused by the Camp Fire.

“PG&E said in an earlier filing that the Butte County district attorney and California’s attorney general had opened a criminal investigation into the Camp Fire.

“In a statement on Wednesday, PG&E said that it had not yet reviewed Cal Fire’s report but that it ‘is consistent with the company’s previous statements.'”

The rest of the article is here.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

14 thoughts on “California says PG&E power lines caused Camp Fire that killed 85”

    1. Thanks for the reminder. We were discussing that this evening: To be sure, PG&E has a more challenging territory than many other utilities. But it’s been a real challenge for them. I’m wondering if there will be a buyout of PG&E by another utility now that its value on Wall Street has been so greatly diminished. Either way, it’s going to be a great era of uncertainty for PG&E and its customers.

      1. BTW, the author of that story, Jim Doyle, was a friend and a colleague of mine. I worked at the Chronicle then, along with him. He did a good job.

  1. The Fire chief who exposed the underlying crime of PG&E and the Trauner fire is a lifelong friend. He did most of the work.

  2. Almost exclusively, corporate dynamics are virtually always sociopathic. The public good is never really a factor. Money is the only factor. And Citizen United actually made them an entity. That’s how screwed up we are. I don’t see a way out. We are too deep into the cesspool.

  3. They are replacing the bare wire on all the poles on Banner Mountain. As well as the poles. The new lines they are installing are all insulated. Huge project that the contractors we talked to say will last 7 years in Nevada County alone.

  4. PG&E Settlement:
    “The money, once received, will be placed in the county’s general fund. The Nevada County Board of Supervisors will decide how it’s used”, County Counsel Alison Barratt-Green said.
    Our neighbors in Rough and Ready (Lobo Fire) and McCourtney have had the biggest challenges for our County- the BOS could do a lot of good for some folks out there-

  5. So who exactly goes to jail here, the CEO, board members, major stock holders? If a person (not a corporation) committed 84 counts of manslaughter they would go to jail, would they not? How do we lock up a corporation? The corporate friendly Supreme Court declared that corporations are people and can freely donate to political campaigns, and so, if that is true than someone should also go to jail. The flaw in our legal system is that corporations are not people but rather a shell that seems to protect corporate decision makers and investors from any consequences from their actions beyond losing their investment as the worst case scenario. The investors only risk their money while the public at large risk their lives as a result of corporate policies an decisions.

    1. Nobody will go to jail because “corporations are People” (bought and sold Supreme Court). Remember the Trauner fire… 2 million dollar fine…pocket change, and not even that. Nobody went to jail. We’re screwed six ways to Sunday. We’re expendable, but the corporations are not. As George Carlin said “There’s a big club, and you’re not part of it.”

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