Last month PG&E announced plans to bury over 10,000 miles of power lines in an effort to prevent wildfires. The cost, to be shouldered by customers, is at least $15 to $30 billion. This announcement means PG&E is out of the frying pan and even further into the fire.
The company admits it had not intended to disclose the plan for several more months, however PG&E is “under fire” for the Dixie blaze. This newest disaster was sparked by a downed tree on a PG&E line in Butte County. This is the same location of the deadly 2018 Camp fire that led the utility to plead guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter.
As Ghassemian Law Group reported in April, additional criminal charges were filed against PG&E relating to the 2019 Kincade wildfire. The company only just emerged from bankruptcy, with a $13.5 billion trust to pay wildfire victims, which is already facing a $2 billion shortfall – within the first month!
While PG&E may hope this new plan proves to be a “get out of jail free” card, we doubt this will be the case as the 10,000 miles of lines slated to be buried represent only 10% of the utility’s distribution and transmission lines. Further, burial of that initial amount will take ten years or longer.