California’s Largest Utility Could Face Murder Charges For Sparking Wildfires

From The Daily Caller

3:56 PM 12/31/2018 | Energy

Tim Pearce | Energy Reporter

California’s largest utility could face murder charges or manslaughter charges if found responsible for sparking recent, deadly wildfires around the state, according to the state attorney general.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a Democrat, filed documents Friday with Northern California’s federal district court warning that the utility company Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) may face severe criminal charges if its operations or equipment are found to have sparked fatal wildfires, NBC News reported. (RELATED: ‘One Life Lost Is Too Many’: Trump Signs Bill To Help Prevent Catastrophic Wildfires)

The Camp Fire torched roughly 150,000 acres north of Sacramento in November. It killed at least 86 people and is California’s deadliest wildfire on record, according to California’s state fire agency. The fire destroyed nearly 19,000 structures. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but early reports suggest the disaster began with a broken PG&E transmission line.

PG&E has acknowledged that its equipment may have started the Camp Fire, and U.S. District Judge William Alsup ordered the utility on Nov. 27 to investigate whether its equipment was responsible.

The financial pressure on the California utility has increased as more deadly wildfires caused by the company burn parts of the state. The costs of the fires are also being passed on to PG&E ratepayers after outgoing Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation allowing the utility to increase power costs to cover expenses from wildfires.

Karen Atkinson, of Marin, searches for human remains with her cadaver dog, Echo, in a neighborhood destroyed by the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, U.S., November 14, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester
Karen Atkinson, of Marin, searches for human remains with her cadaver dog, Echo, in a neighborhood destroyed by the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, U.S., Nov. 14, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester

The insurance costs of damage done by the Camp and Woolsey Fires, which burned in California at roughly the same time, are estimated to range around $8.6 billion, according to the financial services company CoreLogic.

California investigators found that PG&E equipment caused 12 of 15 major wildfires that hit the state in 2017. Environmentalists blame increasing temperatures from climate change for the fires while President Donald Trump and Republicans call for better land management to reduce the risk of disaster.

In addition to PG&E, Brown has taken heat for vetoing a 2016 bill that aimed at mitigating risk from utilities sparking wildfires.

Follow Tim Pearce on Twitter


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Sweet Old Bob
January 2, 2019 2:08 pm

Maybe Moonbeam should be facing those charges . Karma !

Reply to  Sweet Old Bob
January 2, 2019 2:56 pm

Once again,these DemocRATS aren’t looking at the ramifications of them taking this company to court.These”Wildfires”can be prevented by using things like”Controlled Burn-offs”which has been proven to work in many countries all over the world.Moonbeam and his “Public Serpents”have prevented these practices from taking place,so that makes THEM liable.LOL.

Reply to  clivehoskin
January 2, 2019 4:45 pm

“DemocRATS”? Didn’t you mean DemonRats?

Reply to  Sweet Old Bob
January 2, 2019 3:51 pm

As far as I can tell, California and its legislators have immunity from criminal charges and civil actions. 🙁

Reply to  commieBob
January 2, 2019 8:52 pm

I don’t know anything about US law in that regard being an Australian (where I think the idiots ruling us peasants have similar immunity ) however I think it would at least be a defense under the law especially if there has been a veto of actions that could have reduced the effect.

Reply to  Quilter52
January 2, 2019 11:34 pm

That sounds reasonable.

Sadly, just because something sounds reasonable, that doesn’t mean it will work in a court of law.

There is the eggshell skull rule which says, that defendants must “take their victims as they find them”.

On the other hand, there is the crumbling skull rule (see link above).

Murder is covered by criminal law, not civil law. That said, in civil law a plaintiff can be found to be partly at fault for her own injuries. link That reduces the amount of any damage award.

Just because your actions result in a person’s death, you are not necessarily guilty of murder.

In a depraved-heart murder, defendants commit an act even though they know their act runs an unusually high risk of causing death or serious bodily harm to a person. link

In that case, the lawyers will argue about what constitutes an unusually high risk.

Anyway, it’s complicated.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Quilter52
January 3, 2019 5:59 am


I think the court of elector opinion is the only place politicians get their just desserts. Put new bums on the benches. It is a good a cure as any.

Reply to  Sweet Old Bob
January 2, 2019 5:03 pm

Along with several environmental groups.

Reply to  Sweet Old Bob
January 2, 2019 8:29 pm

Typical banana republic response…well done California..

January 2, 2019 2:09 pm

Unless soon to be former Governor Brown as Cell Block Captain is there to greet them there is no justice.

Kevin Balch
January 2, 2019 2:09 pm

“U.S. District Judge William Alsup ordered the utility on Nov. 27 to investigate whether its equipment was responsible.”

Shouldn’t that be done by a disinterested third party?

Reply to  Kevin Balch
January 2, 2019 5:16 pm

Silly, silly man! Come check out how we do things in Australia.. the bureaucrats have demonstrated it’s perfectly acceptable for them to investigate themselves and this is evidenced by the fact they always find they’ve never done anything wrong! See.. all you ever needed to do was what you were told – trust them.

/rolling on the ground levels of sarc

Reply to  Karlos51
January 2, 2019 5:37 pm

Obviously you’ve never been the subject of a Royal Commission!

Lewis p Buckingham
Reply to  Hivemind
January 2, 2019 5:58 pm


Reply to  Hivemind
January 2, 2019 8:08 pm

Haven’t had the pleasure.

I’m thinking of the few times I’ve had departments in front of tribunals for flagrant, repetitive, clear and admitted breaches of their own procedure and the law or acts of parliament. In all instances despite the admission of failure it was explained to me by the authoritative body that they don’t like to prosecute as it’s ‘too adversarial’ and they prefer to operate by negotiation – in each instance the department has offered to restructure or alter their procedures and that’s been deemed sufficient. In a couple of cases there were never any penalties listed for failure to comply or breaches of the laws or acts. Kinda how Wilson’s Parking in WA illegally bought all those personal records and it was blamed on a junior employee and despite being a serious breach of the law, the department which sold the data didn’t face any penalty that I was aware of.

Sure that’s just my experience, but I don’t seem to recall to many Royal Commissions being called , not really, and lesser investigations seem to often yield little to no change. More like ‘we’re sorry we got caught, we’ll try not to be caught in future’

Lewis p Buckingham
Reply to  Karlos51
January 2, 2019 9:05 pm

You are right about the local level. Eventually the regulator depends on the regulated to keep his job.The latest Royal Comission into the financial sector showed this in droves. As a result the regulator will be embedded into banks. Criminal action is forshadowed.

Lewis p Buckingham
Reply to  Kevin Balch
January 2, 2019 5:57 pm

The situation in Australia is getting better.
As a result of the Black Saturday fires in Victoria new earth leakage limiters will be installed over 7 years.

“The limiters, installed at sub-stations, stop an electrical current within milliseconds of a power line coming into contact with the ground or vegetation.”

‘The state government contributed $5.5 million to the research and development of the new technology, which has been extensively tested more than 2000 times, including in Black Saturday conditions.’

In that sense, the Brown administration’Should have known’ the technology available to prevent fires
and the methods of pattern burning to lower dry biomass.

The outcome for the people, the utility and a lesser extent the Government was very sanguine.

Civil class action makes Government focus on the real issues in bushfire prevention.

‘The bushfire began after a live line – owned and operated by AusNet Services – hit a power pole cable stay, igniting vegetation. The power line failed because a lightning strike had initiated cracks that made it susceptible to wind stress years earlier’

Earlier work in 2014 put powerlines underground.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Kevin Balch
January 3, 2019 7:48 am

Excerpted from article:

California investigators found that PG&E equipment caused 12 of 15 major wildfires that hit the state in 2017.

12 of 15 caused by PG&E equipment, …… HUH?

Sounds to me like, iffen inspectors couln’t figure out the actual cause, …. then they blamed it on faulty PG&E equipment.

Gary Wescom
Reply to  Samuel C Cogar
January 3, 2019 9:09 am

Nope, not faulty equipment but by simply causing sparks when high winds blew tree limbs onto the lines. The claim was that the utilities should have trimmed trees back far enough that trees limbs broken off by 80 MPH winds would not hit them. (Have you any idea how far that might be?)
As far as equipment failure, even the Camp fire claim was about the possibility that on going line maintenance may have left a single point vulnerable and the location was near the ignition point of the fire. Remember the path and design of that particular power line was reviewed, and approved by the CPUC and several other agencies before it was built. Maintenance on that line and its funding had to have been included in the previous utility rate case and approved by the CPUC.
The next issue is the California began by attempting to use their Reverse Condemnation Rule that allowed them to drop the bill onto utilities who would then simply increase their rates by a small increment to cover the cost. Unfortunately, the CPUC did not follow the rule and allow the investor owned utilities to increase their rates as required by the rule. That, of course, was noted by banks and the stock market, resulting in a drop in stock value by half. The saddest part of this is PG&E and SoCal Edison is held by many retirement fund groups doubling the burn rate of stock to meet pension payouts.

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Gary Wescom
January 3, 2019 12:17 pm

A fer piece, for sure, even if the limb was only airborne for 10 seconds.

January 2, 2019 2:11 pm

Own nothing, control everything sayeth the Single Party Democrats.

Reply to  Wharfplank
January 2, 2019 5:48 pm

That’s the way fascism works. The State doesn’t own anything, but due to overwhelming regulations and strict pricing controls, the State controls everything. And one party is pushing for that – the party that overwhelmingly claims the other is “fascist”.

Reply to  ShanghaiDan
January 6, 2019 2:49 pm

That’s not correct. Liberal Progressive ideology is essentially low grade Communism, not Fascism. California and the US are rapidly becoming more and more Communist, not Fascist. You could call it phase 2 Communism.

You can tell because California lets in millions of foreigners who damage the environment and destroy traditional American culture. California is also at the forefront of the ‘global warming’ agenda.

No Fascist government would ever do such a thing. It violates core Fascist values. Hitler would never have allowed mass waves of foreigners to enter Germany. He would never have allowed an ‘anchor baby’ clause in the constitution. He would never have shipped German industry to China, or let an international ‘global warming’ lobby have any say in Germany.

Communism regards nationalism as the greatest threat. California leaders bring in foreigners this because they regard traditional American nationalism as dangerous to the State. Americans are too independent and apt to get out of control. Can’t have that, so every effort must be made to limit their growth, access to positions of power, and to drive them out of the state. Replacement.

Communism is a world wide conspiracy, with world control as a primary objective. Global warming is just one tool in their arsenal to consolidate power at the top.

That’s why Democrats are correct when they call Trump a fascist. He’s certainly no Hitler, but the very notion of national sovereignty and borders is the core of Fascism. His opposition to ‘global warming’ is heresy in their eyes.

January 2, 2019 2:13 pm

What sort of punishment can a large corporation expect to receive if found guilty? Can corporate officers be held accountable for jail time or will they simply face fines whose costs will then be passed on to the consumers along with any additional costs to bring the transmission lines up to requirements.

Reply to  Rocketscientist
January 2, 2019 2:29 pm

…the latter

between windmills, solar, green crap…….no one will be able to afford to run a light bulb

Curious George
Reply to  Rocketscientist
January 2, 2019 2:39 pm

An indemnity clause is a common element of contracts, used to shift potential costs from one party to another – in this case, company officers bear no personal responsibility for any wrongdoing by the corporation. Let’s hope to see the corporation (an electric utility in this case) behind bars, and customers will be left in the dark.

Lewis p Buckingham
Reply to  Curious George
January 2, 2019 3:55 pm

If this is true then the US needs legislation to ‘Lift the corporate veil’

“[T]he separate legal personality of a company is to be disregarded only if the court
can see that there is, in fact or in law, a partnership between companies in a group, or
that there is a mere sham or facade in which that company is playing a role, or that the
creation or use of the company was designed to enable a legal or fiduciary obligation
to be evaded or a fraud to be perpetrated.”33

Samuel C Cogar
Reply to  Curious George
January 3, 2019 9:26 am

Curious Georg – January 2, 2019 at 2:39 pm

in this case, company officers bear no personal responsibility

But what is far, far, far worse than that, ….. elected politicians bear no personal responsibility for Laws they pass that cause harm, sickness and/or deaths of innocent citizens.

Thus, …………….

The “Rule of Law” in the US is becoming “more n’ more” like an often repeated “really sick joke” that only the nefarious Officers of the Courts and their clients, associates, family, political donors, etc., get a “good” laugh out of whenever the Judge’s or Jury’s ruling is in their favor, which is far more often than not.

Selective criminal accusations, selective arrests, selective prosecutions, selective witness testimony, selective guilty charges, selective jail/prison incarcerations, etc.

All Rules of Law, ……are strictly obeyed, …… except when Supreme Court Justices, Federal Judges, State Judges, Federal Attorney General, Federal Prosecutors, State Attorney Generals and/or State/County Prosecutors decide not to obey the Rules of Law.

Reply to  Rocketscientist
January 2, 2019 6:47 pm

PG&E is hardly a “corporation” as we think of corporations. They are a Public Utility; an energy monopoly … and a pawn of our Communist CA government. They are governed and regulated by PUC oversight. The same PUC that is “all-in” on global warming and are activity encouraging the diversion of maintenance budget into “public education about global warming”. Look at the CRAP in PG&E’s budget that has NOTHING whatsoever to do with their primary mission which is to deliver CHEAP, PLENTIFUL energy to the residents and businesses of CA. I blame the political correctness of changing PG&E’s primary mission from energy delivery to propagandizing and advertising global warming and high-priced “alternative energy” … “renewable” … sources for the outrageous, unnecessary, loss of lives.

The losers? The people of CA. The energy ratepayers who are becoming increasingly energy POOR. A 3-tier punishing Communist rate structure is transferring the wealth from the middle class to the PG&E (and government regulator) elites. The leftist CA government is using PG&E to force the public to behave as they demand … to use less energy … or else!! … the leftist government will make you POOR. Is it any wonder that “corporations” have embraced “global warming”? It is making them filthy rich!! Because of “Global Warming” the PUC is allowing PG&E to charge consumers punishing rates … to “change our behaviour”. The Communists have taken full control of our energy delivery and maintenance systems … the DEATHS of our fellow citizens is on all their heads.

Tom Halla
January 2, 2019 2:14 pm

If Becerra applied joint and several liability for the fires, the Sierra Club , the NRDC, and other green groups intervening to prevent wildlands management would also be at fault. Becerra will do so sometime about the twelfth of never.

January 2, 2019 2:17 pm

How does one charge a utility (a corporation) with murder? Do all the employees and shareholders (including the state and state pension fund holders) all spend 5 minutes in jail upon conviction so the company can serve its 15 to 20 years?

And yet the state is run by the party that wants to claim that corporations have no speech rights because they are not a person. Only a person can commit murder so if they charge the utility (a corporation) with murder, aren’t they de facto establishing corporations as persons and thus eliminating their argument? Am I expecting too much to have the left be consistent in their thinking?

Jim Gorman
Reply to  OweninGA
January 2, 2019 5:52 pm


Exactly my thoughts when I read this.

Paul Penrose
January 2, 2019 2:20 pm

Shouldn’t the green groups and their supporters that opposed proper forest management be charged as well? They are perhaps even more responsible than PG&E which is heavily regulated and thus more limited it its ability to mitigate such fires.

matthew dalby
Reply to  Paul Penrose
January 2, 2019 2:38 pm

Couldn’t agree more. The main issue is not how the fires started, but why they became so large and hard to control. In theory green groups that oppose forest management are equally guilty for large fires started by arson, carelessness, lightning etc. Maybe it needs politicians who aren’t in thrall to the environmental movement to properly hold these groups to account.

January 2, 2019 2:31 pm

It’s California–go for the insanity defense.

R Shearer
Reply to  ResourceGuy
January 2, 2019 4:12 pm

Good one.

January 2, 2019 2:31 pm

This is outrageous. This is the kind of injustice that leads to a society’s destabilization and collapse. The people in Paradise and surrounding areas knew what kind of risk they were living with. They rolled the dice and lost.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  icisil
January 2, 2019 3:10 pm

Speaking of which, the town was originally known as “Pair o’ Dice.”

January 2, 2019 2:34 pm

“The costs of the fires are also being passed on to PG&E ratepayers…”
Can you call the State of California’s gross mismanagement of its forests “murder?”

January 2, 2019 2:34 pm

“Our grandchildren won’t know what electricity was…”

January 2, 2019 2:41 pm

Shades of Italy charging Italian seismologists for failing to predict an earthquake.

That was a stunningly silly political anti-science idea too.

Reply to  WXcycles
January 2, 2019 3:10 pm

It’s not that they failed to predict, they actually went on TV to declare that there was no danger of an earthquake.

January 2, 2019 2:54 pm

Make your indulgence payments to the high speed rail construction unions and you can get off with good behavior.

Or do they have an electric chair for an electric utility to be electrocuted in?

Reply to  ResourceGuy
January 2, 2019 3:11 pm

But Execution Day dawned still, and cloudy.
PGE rose from the chair at sun-down, alive and unharmed.
The sillies had connected the Chair to unreliables!

Just imagining a press report.


nw sage
Reply to  auto
January 2, 2019 4:43 pm

“They” will soon figure out that all executions are to be carried out on the first available sunny and windy day.

January 2, 2019 2:58 pm

… the end of electricity.

You know, like “the end of snow”.

The former is the more likely outcome of “climate change”.

Steve O
January 2, 2019 3:02 pm

The the Governor’s office has any sense, they’ll squash that idea and fast. They do not want a high-profile court case, followed widely by the public, serving as an expose into the proximate cause of the death and destruction — which is California’s forestry management policies.

January 2, 2019 3:02 pm

Um, I dont understand this. So the leftist greenie radicals who actually lit the fires, do they work for the utility?

January 2, 2019 3:05 pm

Electricity is evil. It must be abolished. All power lines should be declared illegal! (/sarc)
Of course, burying power lines in certain areas is something that should not be mentioned. We wouldn’t really want to improve anything. Then we would lose the excuse to eliminate electricity.

Mike Haseler (Scottish Sceptic)
January 2, 2019 3:09 pm

For too long electricity companies have seen this Green fad as just another way to fleece the customer by raising prices. Almost all of them jumped on the green bandwagon in some way.

The result is that far from trying to stop it growing, the green monster has grown larger and larger encouraged by these companies for whom higher energy prices equals higher profits …. but now it threatens those profits of the very same electricity companies who helped create the green monster in the first place.

The Green monster now bites the hand that fed it – and many big corps are regretting allowing it to grow so big.

Gary Wescom
Reply to  Mike Haseler (Scottish Sceptic)
January 3, 2019 9:25 am

It seems you have never studied utility finances. Especially in California, Public Utilities Commisions are antagonistic against investor owned utilities, I suppose believing their job is to ‘control’ them. Any profit obtained by investor owned utilities in California is negotiated in rate cases every two years. Those profits are usually set by the state at some low but marginally reasonable rate of return on investment.

Poor performance, poor maintenance, low efficiency, not providing the required amount of “Renewable Generation” advertising, etc, (real or imagined) all result in down checks on that rate of return. As you will notice, PG&E has not been able to pay dividends on its stock for quite a long time now.

Mike Smith
January 2, 2019 3:12 pm

Just pandering to some of the voters. I’ll take the claim seriously when we see a few corporate and/or government executives behind bars.

Clyde Spencer
January 2, 2019 3:12 pm

I can understand a possible charge of Negligent Homicide, but Murder seems to be over the top and unlikely to be able to get a conviction.

Ken Irwin
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
January 2, 2019 11:19 pm

Exactly – In South Africa a bus driver ran a bus load of kids over a railway line – against the lights and after some reckless overtaking of the cars at the crossing. Something like 12 kids were killed in the collision, the driver survived and was charged and convicted of murder.

Dumb – murder requires intent.

He walked on appeal.

January 2, 2019 3:19 pm

Congress can abrogate state governmental immunity by passing a statute that expressly provides for private damage suits against states.

January 2, 2019 3:35 pm

I bet the VP involved with “Green” stuff was being fast tracked and networking with highly placed people in the renewable industries and in government, while the VP tasked with cutting underbrush was going nowhere in the company, and that same VP can now be fired as a result of these fires.

John Robertson
January 2, 2019 4:17 pm

Happy New Year.
I hope those bozos go ahead and attempt to prosecute the utility.
Imagine if they succeed..they really are not going to like their new rules.
Shades of the pound me too meme.
Our progressive comrades have already told us;” We do not need evidence,due process or any of those old traditions..Just a “credible woman to make the claims”.
So in an alternate personality,I self identify as woman and claim that the politicians,environmentalists and bureaucrats conspired to burn out these citizenry.

Hang them now.
Have trial next year .
If we remember.

Democrats told us they agree with these methods, just last year.
Actually I recall some of the talking heads on Fox offering up same pablum.
What is “credible” to the credulous?

January 2, 2019 4:23 pm

Is anyone saying ” murder” other than the “energy reporter”? And the headline here at WUWT. Let’s not get into the fake news business. California’s rulers deserve severe punishment, no doubt, along with PG&E if found guilty but let’s get real. I am sure that those who lost loved ones would like to see a murder charge but it is very unlikely to happen.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  JimG1
January 2, 2019 5:14 pm

JimG1, the article is based on a formal court submission by Beccerra (CA AG) concerning the PGE responsibility for its exploding high pressure gas line near San Fran that killed several in 2010. His view of CA criminal law, PGE can in fact be found criminally liable for murder or manslaughter.

Reply to  JimG1
January 2, 2019 8:20 pm

“Is anyone saying ” murder” other than the “energy reporter”? And the headline here at WUWT.”
Indeed. The Daily Caller is not careful about accuracy. What the NBC report actually said (my bold) was
“State Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office said PG&E could face the most serious in a range of criminal charges if it is found to have caused any of the recent deadly fires — and acted with malice in the operation and maintenance of its equipment, according to a brief filed Friday in Northern California’s federal district court.”

And of course they could, if they acted with malice.

Lewis p Buckingham
Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 3, 2019 1:16 am

The problem of culpability is not constrained by an NBC report of an Attorney General’s opinion.
Back home in Oz the concept of negligence is alive and well.
‘Residents of Tathra have accused authorities of negligence after they failed to heed warnings about the lack of bushfire hazard reduction in dense bushland around the NSW south coast town, now ­reeling from the loss of almost 70 homes.’

There is also a duty of care, not only by those who allegedly ignited the fire, but those who let the fuel build to a point where it was unstoppable.

‘The case supports the proposition that a landowner in
occupation of his land has a duty, when he is aware or ought
to be aware of a hazardous condition on the land which puts
the neighbouring land at risk, to take such steps as are
reasonable in all the circumstances to prevent or minimise
the risk of injury or damage to the neighbour’s property.’

Malice is a broad church
‘In any statutory definition of a crime, malice must be taken … as requiring either:

an actual intention to do the particular kind of harm that in fact was done; or
recklessness as to whether such harm should occur or not (i.e. the accused has foreseen that the particular kind of harm might be done and yet has gone on to take the risk of it).’

This is apt in global warming debates
its called ‘The Precautionary Principle’.

As has been written elsewhere, it may be said of this Californian Administration
‘If you seek[its] legacy, look about you’.

Flight Level
January 2, 2019 4:27 pm

That’s how you do it:
Tree management around power lines by chopper.
The technology is actually American, various sources and contrctors, more powerful equipment, are available in the USA :

Reply to  Flight Level
January 2, 2019 7:16 pm

Not that effective and very dangerous. It’s what I’d call an expedient solution for the moment. I talked with the ground crew who were supervising that being done on my road. They said some guy crashed and died doing that. It wasn’t long after doing my road that they came back to do the job right with a 4WD machine that ground trees in the ROW into mulch. That was very effective.

Flight Level
Reply to  icisil
January 3, 2019 1:13 am

Dear Icisil, a negative outcome is just, how to say, part of the job. There are other even more dangerous jobs for even less essential commodities such as crab fishing.

Which does not imply that the guys doing it are less passionate about.

Reply to  Flight Level
January 2, 2019 9:52 pm

That looks silly to me. The trees can still blow down onto the line and the branches will grow back out int the clearing within a year. A waste of time and money. The cut limbs still have to be cleaned up and chipped or burned by hand.
Better to cut down and remove all trees within 100 feet of high voltage lines. That is really necessary to prevent fires and outages from tree falls. Also, we need to prevent the lines being destroyed by forest fires.

Flight Level
Reply to  Billy
January 3, 2019 1:21 am

Right Billy, nature will prevail. Understood.

However there are places where airborne operation is about the only viable option.

This besides, you have a very good point. Trees and power transmission lines do not and should not mix.

Because when this happens we enter a far more dangerous flying domain: -Aerial fire fighting and it’s carrousel of wild convection airstreams.

Reply to  Flight Level
January 5, 2019 5:33 pm

Wow. Very impressive tech. Need an excellent pilot since always flying in a dead man zone, but this would very applicable in impossible terrain to reach by human or machine. Always risks, and this very expensive, but looks like a solution for some terrains. Just like mowing the lawn…hugely impressed with this.

Doug Huffman
January 2, 2019 4:30 pm

PG&E. Shut down, sell out to Kalifornistan PUC. Let ‘em lie in the bed they’ve made.

Doug Huffman
January 2, 2019 4:30 pm

PG&E. Shut down, sell out to Kalifornistan PUC. Let ‘em lie in the bed they’ve made.

Tom Andersen
January 2, 2019 4:36 pm

Sudbury fire 33 in Ontario this year was caused by irresponsible wind turbine installation. The workers were told to keep working through a dry spell and without adequate fire equipment. 25,000 acres. The firestarter will pay nothing, as its a wind turbine project.

This area, unlike the area where the fire that had to happen in California is wet enough that fires are not part of the ecosystem.

Joel O'Bryan
January 2, 2019 4:57 pm

From the link on the bill Gov Moonbeam vetoed:
“the 2016 bill, called SB 1463, which would have given local governments a bigger role in putting together fire risk maps with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and Cal Fire, the state’s firefighting agency.”
(My bold)

Liberalism (aka Socialism) is all about centrally concentrating power in the hands of a few and the bureaucrats they control. IOW, The Libtards can’t allow the locals with too much say in their own affairs. That is the real reason The Browntard vetoed the bill.

Clay Sanborn
January 2, 2019 5:19 pm

Seems to me Smokey The Bear should bear some of the blame for policies that allowed for the excessive build-up of fuel. Lightening could just as well have set it all ablaze.

January 2, 2019 5:40 pm

‘The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but early reports suggest the disaster began with a broken PG&E transmission line.’

‘California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a Democrat, filed documents Friday with Northern California’s federal district court warning that the utility company Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) may face severe criminal charges if its operations or equipment are found to have sparked fatal wildfires, NBC News reported.’

The documents ‘warn?’ What does that mean? And why federal court? You don’t file criminal charges in a federal court, unless there is a violation of federal statute, and then a state AG wouldn’t be the one filing, anyway.

And where is the intent in a ‘broken transmission line?’ How are you going to get ‘severe criminal charges’ out of that?

I think Becerra is grand standing, trying to create a distraction. I’d love to see the federal judge reprimand him for trying to use his court for political purposes. Or even tell him he has no standing to file anything in his court.

Reply to  Gamecock
January 2, 2019 5:53 pm

“…I think Becerra is grand standing, trying to create a distraction. I’d love to see the federal judge reprimand him for trying to use his court for political purposes. Or even tell him he has no standing to file anything in his court…..” +1 but it will be the 9th Circuit Court and the outcome is already known given their record of siding with Progressive ideology. Am I wrong?

Reply to  Gamecock
January 2, 2019 9:04 pm

“I think Becerra is grand standing, trying to create a distraction. I’d love to see the federal judge reprimand him for trying to use his court for political purposes. Or even tell him he has no standing to file anything in his court.”
It’s nothing like that. In fact, Judge Alsup specifically asked the state AG to comment on whether state laws could have been broken. And the AG seems to have given a straightforward answer on the state of the law.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
January 3, 2019 6:14 am

I commented on the post as given. Your link is not part of the post.

John W. Garrett
January 2, 2019 5:51 pm

Nobody in their right mind invests in California public utilities.

They are too prone to expropriation by politicians and tort lawyers.

Some day (and I don’t know when), Californians are going to discover that their public utilities do not have a bottomless source of cash.

Michael Jankowski
January 2, 2019 6:14 pm

Can gov’t entities be charged for fatal accidents on interstates, state roads, county roads, and city roads, too?

Donald Kasper
Reply to  Michael Jankowski
January 2, 2019 7:17 pm

Yes you can, for construction zones. You have 30 days to file. They are self insured and unfortunately, the insurance funds are bankrupt.

Donald Kasper
January 2, 2019 7:16 pm

Then all CA utilities will go insolvent, declare bankruptcy and cease operations immediately. All power services will have to be taken over by the state.

January 2, 2019 7:29 pm

“Environmentalists blame increasing temperatures from climate change for the fires…”

Idiot liars. High winds blew in the Camp fire area for a week before the fire started. One day would have been enough to dry everything out regardless of the temp.

D. Anderson
January 2, 2019 8:57 pm

So everyone who gets their power from GP&E are accessories to murder. Turn your selves in California.

January 2, 2019 9:55 pm

Who owns the trees that blew down onto the power lines? That is where the responsibility lies.

Dennis Sandberg
January 2, 2019 10:38 pm

Utility companies shouldn’t be penalized when they are forced by political mandates to contend with “off spec” poor quality power from a dozen wind farms with a dozen turbines all operating at different times and producing different quantities and qualities of electricity. With this junk power being dumped on the grid is it any surprise that a transformer overheats?

“Wind power causes problems with:
Voltage regulation (magnitude and frequency)
Voltage sags and swells
Harmonics and inter harmonics
Real and reactive power
Sub synchronous resonance issues due to interaction of the electric network
and the complex shaft/gear system of the wind turbine”.

E J Zuiderwijk
January 3, 2019 1:29 am

Simples. Don’t anymore use the power grid to transport power. Switch it off and you cannot possibly be liable.

Then watch in awe at what happens.

Mitt Stuckley
January 3, 2019 7:55 am

Wind turbines themselves are setting more wildfires these days. Send windfarm investors to prison, else off with their heads!

Russ R.
January 3, 2019 10:20 am

The AG is deflecting blame away from the State, because the State is to blame. If they had properly managed the accumulation of fuel, the fire would have been manageable. The harm was incurred because the fire was out of control, not because it was ignited.
The area that burned has a long history of burning. The State failed to anticipate that it would burn again, and take preemptive measures to prevent it. They are the NEGLIGENT party.

Jon Salmi
January 3, 2019 11:45 am

If, (it has yet to be proved) PG&E’s actions sparked the Paradise fire, government policies provided the tinder. I we put PG&E on trial for murder, we must also put those responsible for the relevant public government policies on trial for murder as well.

January 3, 2019 12:38 pm

I would love to see PG&E respond to this nonsense with the proverbial ‘flip of the switch’ and just turn California off. That would be awesome. Don’t like our electricity, fine don’t use it and we’ll help by turning it off for you.

Mr Bliss
January 3, 2019 3:24 pm

Would California’s state officials not be equally liable – since they refuse to maintain the forests in order to mitigate the outcome of fires

January 4, 2019 12:57 pm

There were photos taken by a news helicopter showing that the Malibu Woolsey fire started at an electric substation next to the Santa Susanna Rocketdyne/Boeing nuclear laboratory facility.

January 4, 2019 2:19 pm
January 14, 2019 8:19 pm

Much of the entire population doesn’t seem to understand these fires. They are a phenomena of nature, like hurricanes or tornadoes. We on the Pacific Coast do not blame those in Florida for hurricanes. We do not blame people in Nebraska for tornadoes. We understand that they are the result of climatic conditions in these areas. People back East have no experience with these wildfires. They are much like tornadoes, rising quickly and of such force, that no human agency can prevent or withstand them…One day, my friends and I were sitting on a ridge in Marin, looking across SF Bay,on a warm clear day with strong winds. We saw a small wisp of smoke across the waters in Oakland. In a few minutes, the skies above us turned black with smoke. It was like a roaring black river, dumping ashes, burnt paper, roofing felt, cookbook pages, embers, so hot that there were silver flashes of solder, evaporated from computers, dropping down on us, carried over the Bay from fifteen miles away. This was the start of the great Oakland firestorm, which killed many and burnt about 3000 homes. This was one of our Western raging fires, and it was totally in an urban area, a city, not out in the country,and the flames were fed by burning homes. It is time for all to grasp that these fires will not be controlled (as some think) by even severe preventative measures. They are the West Coast Hurricanes. This should now be understood by people back East, and certainly, by all of us here in the West…

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