Anyone who gets power from PG&E Corp. could see their lights go out this fire season.
Even the millions of Californians who live outside risky areas could be left in the dark under a sweeping proposal the utility filed Wednesday. That’s because it wants regulators to approve the inclusion of more high-voltage lines in its power-shutoff plan for periods of elevated fire risk. PG&E filed for bankruptcy last week in the face of fire-damage claims that could exceed $30 billion.
“The core elements of our plan are to help reduce the potential for wildfires associated with our equipment,” Sumeet Singh, vice president of PG&E’s community wildfire safety program, said in an interview. PG&E would only cut off power as a “last resort” and will coordinate its actions with regulators and the state grid operator, Singh said.
All eyes are on PG&E and what the company plans to do to avoid another catastrophic wildfire after a string of blazes in 2017 and 2018 that pushed the company into bankruptcy. California’s other investor-owned utilities were also scheduled to file 2019 wildfire mitigation plans Wednesday with the California Public Utilities Commission to comply with a state law passed last year.