Tuesday, 29 January 2019

California Power Provider PG&E Files For Bankruptcy In Wake Of Fire Lawsuits

quote [ Faced with billions of dollars in potential liabilities from two years of devastating Northern California wildfires as well as the specter of future catastrophic blazes, California's Pacific Gas and Electric, one of the nation's largest utilities, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday.

The state is investigating PG&E's culpability in November's Butte County fire that killed at least 86 people and incinerated some 14,000 homes and buildings in and around the town of Paradise, Calif. ]

Scumbags - noun - informal; plural noun: scumbags

A contemptible or objectionable person.
[SFW] [business] [+3 Interesting]
[by knumbknutz@3:44pmGMT]


matang said @ 4:57pm GMT on 29th Jan [Score:2]
Mixed emotions about this. On one angle PG&E seems to have a solid history of mismanagement and being lax about maintenance and safety (e.g. San Bruno pipeline explosion, allegations of malfunctions starting wildfires, etc.). On another angle, California state law is written so that utilities are liable for wildfires caused by their equipment, even if they did nothing wrong. And yet another angle is the whole fact that given that wildfires are a known risk (Cal Fire has known since at least 2010 that Paradise was in a high risk zone), you could question if communities (and individual homeowners) living in areas of risk are doing enough to adjust to these realities (creating defensible space, planning/rehearsing evacuation plans, etc.). There's no one easy magic bullet that will address these issues and concerns, but there will be an impact on all Californians. Perhaps thinking ahead - what do the lessons from this hold for potential future disasters, like another fire or the next big anticipated quake? Are Californians prepared enough?
matang said @ 5:14pm GMT on 29th Jan
One quick additional note - by no means am I condoning PG&E actions as related to the recent wildfires. (aside: I've always found it odd how other utilities in other jurisdictions don't seem to have all of the issues PG&E has - do they do a better job with maintenance and safety? Do laws in other jurisdictions make it easier to maintain right-of-ways? Or maybe they're just better at hiding issues than PG&E?) But I did want to point out that these issues are far more complex than they seem on the surface.
mechavolt said @ 5:43pm GMT on 29th Jan
Other utilities are crappy in their own ways, but it's region specific. For example, in the Washington, DC area the utility Pepco got a lot of shit for not keeping their above-ground power lines clear. It wasn't until a huge storm a few years ago where tons of people lost power for a week or more that they finally did something about it. Which was to just cut down all the trees near their power lines (which while safer, killed a fuck ton of trees).
backSLIDER said @ 8:00pm GMT on 29th Jan
Not to defend pg$e but there is also more forest they go through then basically anywhere else in the world. But they should have the money to deal with it. They should be doing their damn job. AMD they should be shutting down transmission lines in areas where there 8s good chance of fire. Give people warning and shut it down. They don't want to because there is money loss and probably built in legal consequences but that is something that they should work on.
hellboy said @ 12:31am GMT on 30th Jan
I think California just passed a law back in September that protected PG&E from class-action lawsuits, but I don't know the specifics or how it affected the bankruptcy. It seemed like an over-correction to me.

I suspect in this case it's the investors looking at the writing on the wall and deciding to get out while they still can - it's the usual "privatize the profits, socialize the losses" strategy so popular with American capitalists.

The answer to your last question is "no".
rylex said @ 3:20am GMT on 30th Jan
I'm a californian.

We are not prepared enough. We had ample warning from the fires in the Santa Cruz Mountains throughout the 80s and 90s.

The average california policy maker truly does not give a fuck about preventive measures. They're all about trying to slap a bandaid on the shotgun wound.
thepublicone said @ 9:08pm GMT on 29th Jan
PG&E.... as in the "Erin Brokovich" PG&E?

Yeah, there is absolutely zero history of mismanagement, assholery, douchebaggery, or other forms of scum and villainy in that company. No sir. Not. An. Ounce.
hellboy said @ 12:26am GMT on 30th Jan
The state needs to take it over. Utilities are natural monopolies.
straw said @ 4:24pm GMT on 30th Jan
My read on this is that they're using this to get out of various renewable energy contracts. PG&E has been pushing back hard against the "community choice" programs, seems like this is a big ol' game to play those agencies.

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