Pacific Gas and ElectricThe troubled utility that has started California’s most disastrous Forest fireSonoma County, north of San Francisco, faces new criminal charges for its role in burning the 2019 wildfire of 120 square miles.
The county’s district attorney on Tuesday said PG&E, Which emerged from bankruptcy protection last yearWith five hooligans and 28 misdemeanors, including reckless arson with great bodily injury in connection with a negligent fire. More than 400 buildings were damaged or destroyed by the explosion and seriously injured six firefighters.
This is the third set of criminal charges filed against PG&E, California’s largest utility. In 2017, a jury convicted PG&E of five death-related charges in a gas pipeline explosion seven years earlier. And the utility pleaded guilty to 84 counts of involuntary mansolator in relation to the 2018 campfire last year, which was triggered by its equipment. That fire devastated the city of heaven and helped PG&E go bankrupt, where it worked to resolve an estimated $ 30 billion in wildfire liabilities.
California’s Department of Forestry and Fire Safety has concluded that the Kinkade fire started after high winds knocked off the PG&E Tower in Geyser’s geothermal area. The fire took 15 days and District Attorney Jill Revich described the necessary evacuation in some cities as Sonoma County, a California wine hub.
If convicted, PG&E could face fines and additional penalties for violating a federal probation that stems from a pipeline explosion case. The company has paid billions of dollars to governments, families, insurance companies and others for disasters caused by its equipment, which regulators said have often been very poorly maintained.
In a statement on Tuesday, PG&E promised that it would continue to upgrade its equipment and follow safety practices to protect Californians. The company said it accepted the findings that its equipment was the cause of the Kinkade fire, but did not believe it to be criminally liable.
“We are saddened by the property damage and personal impacts sustained by our customers and communities in Sonoma County and surrounding areas as a result of the October 2019 Kinkade Fire,” the company said. “We do not believe there was any crime here. We are committed to working to impact them all and reduce the risk of wildfires on our system. “
The company emerged from bankruptcy last summer, agreeing to pay $ 13.5 billion to compensate the fund that had damaged thousands of people and families started by PG&E.
The utility, emerging from bankruptcy, allowed it to participate in a $ 20 billion state forest rights fund, along with other investor-owned utilities in California, to cover the cost of future wildfires.
The utility is working to improve its equipment, including weather stations, cameras, micro-grids, and robust transmission towers and lines. In January, Patricia became the chief executive of PG & E’s parent company. Poppe said he “took the job to make sure that we take care of all those who were harmed, and that we make it safe again in California.”
“We will work around the clock until we become true to all the people we are privileged to serve,” he said.