The severe irresponsibility of PG&E has California politicians concerned about the electrical system in the Napa Valley area. In a 2016 audit of PG&E, the Public Utilities Commission found that within a 5 year period, there were 3,527 work orders that were finished past the corrective action date. When calculated as a yearly rate, this means that there are 705 work orders that are “finished late.” Why does this number matter? Because corrective actions taken for electrical wiring can make all the difference in fire prevention, which is one of PG&E's responsibilities as an electrical company.
The Problem with Corrective Jobs Being “Late”
Suppose an electrical surveyor notices that a dead tree branch is frighteningly close to a telephone wire. He or she will call in to PG&E to have them remove the tree branch, thus reducing the possibility of a fire starting. However, if PG&E takes longer than they should to clear the “igniter,” they will now be inherently responsible for a fire caused by that branch. Being late in many situations is excusable, but in these kinds of scenarios, tardiness can result in acres of destruction. This is inexcusable.
Here are some of the actual work orders that were not completed on time:
- Tree branch 18 inches from a primary electrical line in Sonoma
- Failure to inspect 61 power lines and other electrical overhead
- Plants encapsulating the climbing area of a power pole
- Anchor lines conducting from contact with wires
Any one of these issues could be the cause of a fire starting, and yet each and every one was worked on late. This is trouble waiting to happen and a problem that needs to be fixed.
On October 9, PG&E stated that over 130,000 gas and lighting services had been affected by the fires in California. As of October 20, the total number of people who are without gas or electric has dwindled to just under 6,000. PG&E has helped thousands of people get their power and gas back.
However, we have a question for PG&E: could a more effective PG&E fire prevention team have made this catastrophe an implausibility? This is a question that will need to be answered before PG&E is labeled as a “helping hand” of the community or seen as a proactive member of society.
In light of the recent fires in California, we at Arnold & Itkin aim to be reliable in a situation where unreliability has been the standard. If you are sick of grappling with your insurance claims and are seeking help, our insurance attorneys are ready to assist you. With billions in verdicts and settlements, we help provide our clients the legal prowess that they need to deal with their claims.
If you have been affected by the California wildfires, turn to Arnold and Itkin for guidance about your next steps. Call (888) 493-1629 for a free consultation concerning your case.