PG&E notes patrol findings along wildfire route


Pacific Gas & Electric has sent a letter to the California Public Utilities Commission supplementing its earlier report on damaged infrastructure discovered around the time of the Camp Fire last month.

A Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) inspection crew patrolling its line along the Big Ben 1101 distribution circuit on November 9 found a pole and equipment on the ground, according to the report. The crew also discovered bullets on the ground and bullet holes at the break point of the pole and on the equipment.

Three days later, another PG&E patrol observed wires down and damaged and downed poles, the letter reads. Several snapped trees were also on top of some of the downed lines, according to the report.

Beginning on November 13, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) requested that PG&E assist it in collecting evidence related to the Big Bend outage.

These incidents remain under investigation. The investigators consider all the information preliminary and have not determined major causes for the blaze.

Nonetheless, angry residents have accused PG&E of helping cause the devastating fire which killed 86 people and destroyed hundreds of structures. The San Francisco-based utility also faced liability for several of California wildfires which took more lives and caused several billion dollars in damage last year.

Many allege that high winds and dry timber, coupled with downed power lines, conspired to set the California countryside ablaze.

Originally published by Rod Walton, Power Engineering.