The San Diego Union-Tribune (June 18, 2018)
Editorial: Be careful, Legislature: Utilities must be responsible for mistakes
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has found that PG&E’s power lines and poles caused 15 fires in October in Northern California’s wine country. While authorities have not yet decided if PG&E is responsible for the single worst wine country blaze, the utility plainly is at risk of billions of dollars in fines and legal judgments.
Or is it? At the behest of Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, the California Senate last month overwhelmingly approved Senate Bill 1088, a measure backed by PG&E, Southern California Edison and SDG&E that would mandate that utilities prepare comprehensive strategies for dealing with large wildfires. The 34-2 vote for the measure came despite pointed warnings from consumer advocates that language in the complex measure could be used by utilities to avoid accountability for their mistakes.