The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

PG&E Found Responsible for Wildfires

Jun 25, 2018

Electric power lines caused 12 devastating wildfires, which killed 18 people and burned down hundreds of homes in northern California last fall, according to CAL FIRE (California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection). State investigators concluded that the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) had not met its obligation to maintain power poles, trim trees and keep the land around power lines free from vegetation.

Hundreds of homeowners have already filed lawsuits against PG&E, and experts say the company’s legal liability may end up exceeding 15 billion dollars.

In response, PG&E has gone onto the offensive. California lawmakers said that PG&E has “warned them” that, if held liable, the company may file for bankruptcy–which can be translated as, “Hey, I need a bailout.”

In a statement, PG&E blamed the fires on conditions caused by drought and severe heat–as though California doesn’t know drought and heat. It’s just an excuse for the company’s inadequate safety system. But instead of proposing to fix its system, PG&E suggests “legislative solutions for all Californians, as we collectively seek to meet the challenge of climate change.”

In plain English: PG&E wants the population to pay (yes, one more time!)–this time for improving its electricity grid, which the company has not kept up to “meet the challenge” of the times we live in.

But if PG&E is not even fit to provide safe, reliable electricity to the population, why should this company be allowed to keep the profits it makes?