May 27, 2019
California's largest utility provider, PG&E, has recently announced its plan to cut power on the windiest of days during wildfire season, leaving millions of Californians without power. This is how PG&E is planning to prevent deadly fires caused by its equipment and power lines again and again.
California's fire investigators have determined more than a week ago that PG&E's transmission lines were responsible for the deadliest and most destructive wildfire on record in California, a blaze that killed 85 people in Butte County last year, destroying nearly 19,000 buildings, burning 153,000 acres, and causing damages in excess of $16 billion.
PG&E admitted they were responsible for the fire. The company previously reported more than 16,000 sections of its high-voltage lines fell, mainly due to equipment failures, between 2013 and 2017, i.e., one downed line every three hours.
The PG&E power transmission lines that caused these fires were built in 1921, close to 100 years ago. Although California allocated money to upgrade these very old lines between 2007 and 2017, PG&E did not spend it.
And now, PG&E proposes not to fix and maintain the lines – but instead, just cut the power when the wind kicks up!
This is what passes for an infrastructure solution these days? We’re being taken back to a dark age, both figuratively and literally!