PG&E cleared of 2017 wildfires

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CAL FIRE has completed its investigation of the 2017 Tubbs Fire and concluded that Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) facilities did not cause the fire.

In response, PG&E issued the following statement:

Without question, the loss of life, homes and businesses during these devastating wildfires is heartbreaking, and we remain focused on helping affected communities recover and rebuild. The safety of our customers and the communities we serve is our most important responsibility, and we are committed to assessing our infrastructure to further enhance safety and help protect all of the customers we serve from the ever-increasing threat of wildfires.

The devastating and unprecedented wildfires of 2017 and 2018 have had a profound impact on our customers, employees and communities. Regardless of today’s announcement, PG&E still faces extensive litigation, significant potential liabilities and a deteriorating financial situation, which was further impaired by the recent credit agency downgrades to below investment grade. Resolving the legal liabilities and financial challenges stemming from the 2017 and 2018 wildfires will be enormously complex and will require us to address multiple stakeholder interests, including thousands of wildfire victims and others who have already made claims and likely thousands of others we expect to make claims.

Background Information

Given the continued and growing threat of extreme weather and wildfires, and as an additional precautionary measure, PG&E is enhancing and expanding its Community Wildfire Safety Programme to further reduce wildfire risks and help keep its customers and the communities it serves safe.

PG&E’s ongoing and expanded safety actions include:

  • Real-Time Monitoring and Intelligence
  • New and Enhanced Safety Measures
  • System Hardening and Resiliency

Wildfire Risk is Growing

California faces an ever-increasing threat from catastrophic wildfires, extreme weather and higher temperatures. Recent state and federal climate assessments warn the threat is only growing. California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment found the average area burned statewide would increase 77% if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. The Assessment also said prolonged drought and higher temperatures will triple the frequency of wildfires.

Multiple factors contribute to wildfire risk across PG&E’s service area. These include vast tree mortality following a historic five-year drought. Fire season is now extended due to prolonged periods of high temperatures, extreme dryness, tinder-dry grass and record-high winds increasing the number of wildfires and making them more dangerous. More than half of PG&E’s service area is now considered to be in extreme or high fire-risk areas as designated by the CPUC’s Fire-Threat Map.