Matt Bigler

Thousands Of Problems Found In PG&E Power Equipment

Matt Bigler
July 16, 2019 - 8:25 am

SAN FRANCISCO — PG&E officials say that they've found thousands of problems with the company's power equipment in areas under threat from wildfires.

In documents posted on the utility's website Monday, Pacific Gas & Electric reported that it has found nearly 10,000 issues with electricicity towers, poles and substations during recent inspections. The problems include parts that are broken, damaged, burned or corroded.

In the Bay Area, Sonoma, Santa Clara and Contra Costa Counties had some of the most power line problems, but the majority there were determined to be low priority.

Ted Kury, director of energy studies at the University of Florida's Public Utility Research Center told KCBS Radio it's clear that better oversight of utility equipment is needed.

Related: Newsom Signs Bill Creating Fund To Pay For Wildfire Damage

"The California Public Utilities Commission recently acknowledged they don't do field inspections of the utility equipment - what would be an independent evaluation - because of budget constraints," Kary said. 

The inspections were ordered in the wake of the Camp Fire which investigators have determined was started by PG&E power lines. 

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the utility knew parts of its aging electric system posed a safety risk, even before that devastating wildfire.

PG&E said it has already fixed almost all of the power equipment problems that posed the greatest risk.

"Our system is better today than it was yesterday," a company statement said, "and it will be better tomorrow than it is today."