PG&E says it's 'probable' its equipment caused the Camp Fire

PG&E says its equipment may have started Camp fire in California

PG&E says its equipment may have started Camp fire in California

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. today told investors its equipment was likely what sparked a massive wildfire that spread in California in 2018. The cause of the blaze is still under investigation, though the utility reported to regulators that it experienced equipment problems on the Caribou-Palermo line around the time the fire began.

Bankrupt Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. inched closer to taking responsibility for the deadliest US wildfire in a century, saying Thursday it is "probable" that one of its transmission lines sparked the blaze past year that killed 86 people and destroyed most of the city of Paradise.

The company, which has seen its stock prices plunge since the November 8 wildfire in Butte County, says it plans to include a $10.5 billion pre-tax charge related to Camp Fire claims in its fourth-quarter earnings. The fire killed 86 people and burned 14,000 homes in November.

The company faces billions of dollars in possible liabilities and almost two dozen lawsuits from victims of the Camp Fire, including allegations of poor equipment maintenance.

Shares of PG&E Corp fell 3 percent on Wednesday after federal filings showed that the power utility had delayed a safety overhaul of a high-voltage transmission line, a prime suspect behind the deadliest wildfire in California history.

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PG&E's interim CEO, John Simon, said the company recognizes that more must be done to address the increasing threat of wildfires and keep communities safe.

Citing extraordinary challenges from wildfires, PG&E's management concluded the circumstances "raise substantial doubt about PG&E Corporation's and the Utility's ability to continue as going concerns".

Subsequent inspections of this transmission line identified equipment that should have been repaired or replaced, the company said.

The company said in 2017 that it would spend $30.3 million in 2018 to eliminate clearance issues on the line that were identified in 2013.

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