Tag Archives: PG&E

Overnight Accident In Pacifica Causes Traffic Delays On Northbound Hwy 1

PACIFICA (CBS SF) — Motorists should expect heavy delays on northbound State Highway 1 in Pacifica near Fassler Avenue Saturday after an overnight crash knocked down a power pole, county officials said.

At approximately 10:45 p.m., Pacifica Police Department and North County Fire Authority units responded to a solo vehicle collision on northbound State Highway 1 between Fassler Avenue and Reina Del Mar Drive.

The involved vehicle collided with a power pole, causing the pole to break and the live power lines to fall across the vehicle.

Pacifica power pole collision (Pacifica Police Dept.)

The power pole was suspended precariously from the power lines overhead. The crash also caused a power outage in the area. PG&E crews responded to the scene and were able to deactivate the lines.

The occupants were safely removed from the vehicle and only minor injuries were reported.

State Highway 1 was closed in both directions as crews cleared the vehicle. Southbound lanes were reopened to through traffic at about 11:40 p.m., while northbound lanes reopened a short time later at 12:25 a.m.

The right-hand lane has remained closed to accommodate crews working to restore the damaged pole. Motorists should take state Highway 92 to Interstate Highway 280 from locations south of the area as an alternative route.

The right-hand lane is expected to re-open around 4:30 p.m. Saturday, county officials said.

PG&E Objects To Judge’s Proposals To Prevent Wildfires

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Pacific Gas & Electric Co. pushed back Friday on a U.S. judge’s revised proposals to prevent the utility’s equipment from causing more wildfires, saying it could not “monitor every tree at every moment of every day” to ensure they don’t pose a threat to its electric lines in violation of California laws.

Judge William Alsup earlier this month proposed requiring the company to fully comply with all vegetation management and clearance laws as part of its probation in a criminal case. Alsup called the utility’s efforts to prevent trees from hitting its power lines and starting wildfires dismal.

That requirement would likely result in probation violations because tree conditions are constantly changing, PG&E said in a court filing.

“A tree that was compliant at the time of a prior inspection might become a non-compliant hazard tree one day later when it is damaged by a natural or man-made event or three months later after a bark beetle infestation has taken hold,” attorneys for the company said.

Alsup should also leave assessments of PG&E’s compliance with vegetation management laws to state law enforcement officials and regulators, the attorneys said.

PG&E also objected to Alsup’s proposal to ban it from paying dividends to shareholders until it meets his vegetation management requirements. The company said that requirement would substantially hamper its ability to raise money from investors, which in turn would affect its safety efforts.

The company has already suspended dividends and said it will not pay any at least until it emerges from bankruptcy.

The company sought bankruptcy protection in January in the face of billions of dollars in potential liability from recent wildfires.

Alsup is overseeing a criminal conviction against PG&E stemming from a 2010 gas line explosion that killed eight people in the San Francisco Bay Area. The judge’s proposals follow devastating wildfires in California in 2017 and 2018 — some of which investigators have blamed on PG&E equipment. Alsup has said his goal is to prevent PG&E equipment from causing any wildfires during the 2019 fire season.

He initially proposed ordering PG&E to undertake more drastic measures, including removing or trimming all trees that could fall on its power lines and cutting off power during certain wind conditions.

PG&E Working To Restore Power To 13,000 Customers In East Bay

PLEASANTON (CBS SF) – Almost 13,000 customers in Pleasanton, Dublin and San Ramon are without electricity as of 8:30 p.m. Saturday, and there is no estimated time when it will be restored, according to a PG&E spokesman.

There also has been no cause identified for the outage, which was reported at 7:12 p.m. Saturday, said PG&E spokesman J.D. Guidi.

“We have crews working as quickly and as safely as possible to get power restored,” Guidi said.

© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

DAs Will Not File Criminal Charges Against PG&E For Oct. 2017 NorCal Wildfires

SANTA ROSA (CBS13) — The District Attorneys for Sonoma, Napa, Humboldt, and Lake Counties announced that no criminal charges will be filed against PG&E for the October 2017 Northern California wildfires.

After reviewing the fires, each office said they determined insufficient evidence exists to prove PG&E “acted with a reckless disregard for human life in causing the fires,” which is the standard necessary to sustain criminal charges.

Cal Fire investigations determined that the utility’s equipment caused numerous fires in four counties, but it did not cause the Nuns Fire, Thirty Seven Fire, or the Tubbs Fire.

PG&E remains on federal criminal probation and is a defendant in many private civil cases arising out of the wildfires seeking, among other remedies, financial compensation. Sonoma County is a party to one of the civil lawsuits.

The utility recently filed for bankruptcy and is said their equipment may have ignited the Camp Fire in Butte County.

Richmond High School Closed For 2nd Straight Day Due To Power Outage

RICHMOND (CBS SF) – Richmond High School will be closed Thursday after plans to finish repairs to faulty equipment overnight and reopen the school ran into complications, a school district spokesman said.

Power is still out at the school at 1250 23rd St. after an outage initially reported Tuesday that caused school to close early and remain closed on Wednesday, according to the West Contra Costa Unified School District.

District officials planned to make overnight repairs and open the school on a modified schedule starting at 10 a.m. Thursday, but because of the complications in the overnight repairs, the school will remain closed through all of Thursday, district spokesman Marcus Walton said.

A generator is en route to the school to help provide temporary power, but it was not going to arrive and be installed in time for classes to start, Walton said.

The goal is for school to reopen on Friday, according to the district.

A separate power outage Tuesday affected about 3,025 customers in the surrounding neighborhood, according to PG&E spokeswoman Tamar Sarkissian.  Power in the area did not get restored until around 10 p.m., but power never came back on at the campus.

Sarkissian said that it’s unclear what caused the outage in the surrounding neighborhood, but the campus outage wasn’t related to PG&E equipment.

© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Richmond High School To Resume Classes Thursday After Power Outage

RICHMOND (CBS SF) — School will resume on Thursday at Richmond High School and operate on a modified schedule, according to the West Contra Costa Unified School District.

Classes were canceled for a day-and-a-half at the school due to a power outage apparently caused by faulty or damaged school equipment. School will begin at 10 a.m. and end at 2:25 p.m. with one lunch period beginning at 12:35 p.m.

When it became clear Tuesday that the power would not be coming back on any time soon, the district canceled classes and sent students home. A separate power outage Tuesday night affected about 3,025 customers in the surrounding neighborhood, according to PG&E spokesperson Tamar Sarkissian.

Power in the area did not get restored until around 10 p.m.

“It’s my understanding that power in the area came back on in the evening,” district spokesman Marcus Walton said.

But the lights were never restored on campus.When school officials learned that power wouldn’t be restored to campus by Wednesday morning, they sent out a notice to families that students should stay home.

School district officials said the problem has been identified and repair personnel will be working through the night to complete repairs by early Thursday morning.

Sarkissian said that it’s unclear what caused the outage in the surrounding neighborhood, but the campus outage wasn’t related to PG&E equipment.

© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Judge Revises PG&E Order, Cites ‘Dismal’ Record In Preventing Wildfires

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A federal judge in San Francisco has issued a revised proposed order that would impose strict wildfire prevention conditions on PG&E Co. as part of its criminal probation in a natural gas pipeline safety case.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup will hold a hearing April 2 on whether to go ahead with the proposed order issued late Tuesday. The new proposal is less drastic than an earlier proposed order issued by Alsup in January, but the judge had harsh words for PG&E.

Alsup charged that the utility’s “unsafe conduct has led to recurring deadly wildfires caused by its electrical system” and said it has had a “dismal” record in managing vegetation near its power lines.

The new proposal would require PG&E to comply with all requirements in state law and with its updated wildfire prevention plan. It would mandate that PG&E must hire enough staff to do the tree work and would allow random inspections by a court-appointed monitor.

Alsup’s previous proposal would have required PG&E to inspect its entire Northern and Central California service area and remove all trees that could cause fires by falling on electrical lines.

RELATED: 

The judge said he will delay “for a few weeks” deciding on whether to impose another previously proposed condition, which would require PG&E to turn off power during high winds on any lines not inspected and certified as being safe from falling trees and branches.

PG&E spokesman James Noonan said in a statement, “PG&E shares the court’s commitment to safety and agrees that we must all continue to work together with urgency to address the risk of wildfire throughout Northern and Central California.”

Noonan said the San Francisco-based utility will file a written response to the proposed order by a March 22 deadline set by Alsup.

In a response to Alsup’s previous proposal in January, PG&E said it was working aggressively on wildfire prevention, but said inspecting and certifying its entire area would be unrealistic and turning off power except as a last resort could endanger public safety.

In the new proposal, Alsup also threatened to prohibit PG&E from issuing any shareholder dividends until it fulfills all the requirements for managing vegetation.

The utility has already suspended dividends since late 2017, however, because of its potential liability for North Bay wildfires in 2017 and the Camp Fire in Butte County in 2018.

Alsup wrote that PG&E’s holding company, PG&E Corp., paid shareholders $1.9 billion in 2016 and 2017 and said some of the money should have been spent on wildfire prevention instead.

“During this same period, PG&E knowingly failed to trim or remove thousands of trees it had already identified as posing a hazard,” Alsup wrote.

PG&E is currently in a federal Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding, which enables the company to freeze its debts while developing a financial reorganization plan.

Alsup noted that Cal Fire has determined that PG&E equipment or lines started 17 major fires in Sonoma, Napa and other Northern California areas in October 2017.

The state fire agency has not yet determined the cause of the disastrous Camp Fire that killed 88 people in November 2018, but PG&E said last month it believes a failure in its equipment on a high-voltage transmission tower in the Sierra Nevada foothills will be found to have been the cause.

Alsup is overseeing PG&E’s probation in a criminal case in which the utility was convicted of five counts of violating federal pipeline safety rules and one count of obstructing justice in a probe of a fatal natural gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno in 2010.

© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

BART Trains Not Stopping At El Cerrito Del Norte Station Due To Power Outage

EL CERRITO (CBS SF) — BART trains are not stopping Tuesday evening at the El Cerrito del Norte station because of an equipment problem at the station, transit officials said.

At 6:34 p.m., the BART Alert Twitter account posted that trains were passing through the station due to an equipment problem.

The agency later confirmed that trains were running through the station because of a power outage in the area. PG&E said that approximately  3,000 customers were being affected by the outage that extended north through El Cerrito and west into Richmond.

PG&E said that the estimated time of restoring power was 8:30 p.m.

BART officials said that they are transporting a new generator for the station to mitigate the outage, while PG&E crews work on restoring power.

PG&E: Company’s Equipment May Have Ignited Camp Fire

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF / AP) — Pacific Gas & Electric says its equipment may have ignited the 2018 Camp Fire, which killed 86 people and destroyed the entire town of Paradise in Northern California.

The embattled utility, headquartered in San Francisco, said Thursday it’s taking a $10.5 billion charge for claims connected to the Camp Fire in its fourth quarter earnings.

The cause of the Camp Fire is still under investigation, but firefighters located the start of the fire near a tower on PG&E’s Caribou-Palermo transmission line. PG&E says that transmission line lost power right before the fire and was later found to be damaged.

PG&E’s Interim CEO John Simon says the company recognizes that more must be done to address the increasing threat of wildfires and keep communities safe.

© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.