PG&E: California Fire Investigation

PG&E is officially under investigation by the CPUC. Check here for all PG&E fire investigation updates

CPUC Launches Formal Investigation Into PG&E

While no one knows for sure whether PG&E caused the devastating wildfires in Sonoma and Napa Counties, all eyes are on this troubled and controversial utility company.

Unfortunately, PG&E has a history of failing to properly maintain the vegetation around its power lines, and, in several cases, that negligence has led to severe and destructive fires.

The attorneys at Adams Fietz believe that Cal Fire and the California Public Utilities Commission are entirely justified in launching their formal investigations into whether PG&E caused the fires that have ravaged our community.

In our opinion, PG&E has made some pretty unwise decisions recently.

For one thing, a PG&E spokesperson proclaimed that, on the night the fires began, “hurricane strength winds” had knocked down some of its power lines, possibly causing the spark that started the fire.

But a quick consultation of the local wind charts show that the winds were well below “hurricane strength.” In fact, the winds were well within the limits for which PG&E’s equipment must legally be rated.

We also question PG&E’s recent pattern of spending on vegetation management around its potentially dangerous power lines and transformers. Vegetation management is a term for the trimming of trees and plants that abut power stations that may pose fire hazards.

According to a report by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), PG&E spent $198.7 million on vegetation management in 2016.

So far in 2017, though, PG&E has spent only $150.4 million on vegetation management. And that’s after poorly maintained vegetation was proven to be the cause of several other PG&E-related fires.

Indeed, the CPUC has granted a steady stream of money to PG&E for vegetation management, but, in our opinion, PG&E seems to be using this money unwisely – or not using it at all.

If and when PG&E is shown to be the cause of the recent wildfires, you can rest assured that Adams Fietz will be right there on the front lines, fighting for justice and fair compensation on behalf of our friends and neighbors.

Sonoma County is our home, too. We work here. We live here. Our kids go to school here.

The attorneys at Adams Fietz will do everything we can to help Sonoma County restore and rebuild.

We are Sonoma County strong.

Jump to Investigation Updates

Ben Adams:

Evidence Mounts Against PG & E In Wine County Fires

November 1, 2017
As we have suspected from the very beginning of these fires, evidence is beginning to mount regarding PG&E’s possible role in the horribly destructive Wine Country fires. We have learned that PG&E reported at least 17 “electric safety incidents” across eight counties the night of the fires, blaming downed trees and heavy winds for damaging power lines and other equipment that is the focus of an investigation into the deadliest wildfires in California history.

California’s insurance commissioner has reported insured losses from the October blazes have now topped $3 billion and warned the number is “sure to grow.”

PG&E could be on the hook for this amount if it is found responsible for the fires. The utility company is responsible for maintaining its power lines and the vegetation around them to prevent wildfires.

PG&E reported downed power lines and broken trees on October 8-9 in at least four locations in Sonoma County, including in Kenwood, Santa Rosa, Glen Ellen and Geyserville. Fallen or broken trees damaged equipment in at least three locations in Napa County, and one near Ukiah in Mendocino.

Days after the fires, a review of emergency dispatch calls in Sonoma County was done. This review revealed that authorities had fielded a number of calls of power lines falling down and electrical transformers exploding.

PG&E Shows Suspicious Behaviour With Power Line Stalling

October 26, 2017
The San Jose Mercury News has just published an investigative report that casts even greater suspicion on PG&E’s possible responsibility for the Sonoma County wildfires.

According to this scathing article, PG&E has led an effort to delay a project to map out the locations of power lines that pose the highest risk of causing wildfires.

That’s right – PG&E actively worked to PREVENT this vital safety information from reaching lawmakers, public officials, and the general public. Had PG&E not blocked this effort, it’s entirely possible that the North Bay fires would never have happened.

At least two state agencies – Cal Fire and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) – have launched formal investigations into PG&E’s possible role in starting the fires. Current speculation is that the utility failed to clear flammable vegetation from the vicinity of its power lines, and that a spark ignited this tinder-dry brush.

Again: PG&E pushed back against state efforts to locate and fix the electrical equipment that posed the greatest risk of fire danger. The company’s last stalling tactic was granted just two days before the fires broke out.

Why? Because it would have cost the company some money.

Now, everyone who lost a home in the fire is effectively picking up PG&E’s bill.

If this isn’t negligence, we don’t know what is.

If you’ve lost your home to the fires, you want to know who caused the fires, and who is to blame for the loss of your home.

The attorneys at Adams Fietz have a pretty good idea about who’s going to be the target of the many, many lawsuits that are sure to be filed in the wake of the fire.

Our practice is in downtown Santa Rosa. We live in Sonoma County. Our kids go to school here.

We want to see justice done just as much as you do. We want to rebuild our beautiful community.

Let Adams Fietz help you find justice and fair compensation.

Together, we are Sonoma County strong.

Attorney Jeremy Fietz
PG&E Claims Attorney

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