PG&E: Wildfire Role Would Implicate Probation

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A California utility says any determination that it started a wildfire by recklessly operating power lines in violation of law would bear on its probation in a criminal case. Pacific Gas & Electric Co. said in a court filing late Monday that such a finding would implicate the requirement that it not commit any other crime while on probation. A U.S. judge had asked the company to explain any role it may have played in a massive wildfire that destroyed the Northern California town of Paradise and killed at least 86 people. Judge William Alsup also wanted to know how any determination that PG&E’s reckless operation of power lines caused a wildfire would affect the criminal sentence he is overseeing against the utility. That 2017 sentence followed PG&E’s conviction on charges stemming from a deadly 2010 gas pipeline explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area. PG&E said in its filing that state fire officials had yet to release their conclusions about the fire that destroyed Paradise. The company, however, said PG&E employees were among the first to observe the fire.

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