PG&E $25 Billion Settlement Calpocalypse 2019

This video from Juan Brown reports on an unsettling letter from California Governor Newsome regarding a PG&E bancruptcy case.

LINKS: UPDATE 13 Dec Newsom Rejects Bankruptcy Plan-https://htv-prod-media.s3.amazonaws.c…

Camp Fire Report: “Appendix A: SED Camp Fire Investigation Report”

California Assembly Bill 1054…

California Senate Bill 901



HT/Dan H

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December 21, 2019 4:10 am

So typical of the left. When you focus on images of reality rather than reality itself this is what happens.

Reply to  icisil
December 21, 2019 5:35 am

Yep. You can ignore reality but not the consequences of ignoring reality.

Dan Hawkins
Reply to  icisil
December 21, 2019 7:29 am

MODS – in my tip, I must not have provided the link I intended. Here is an update, referencing the Governors intervention:

December 21, 2019 4:24 am

California has the energy company that it deserves.

bruce ryan
Reply to  Patrick
December 21, 2019 6:39 am

To be found in your locale too I assure you. It appears to me long before the green movement started power companies had shifted their aim to stock price and not their core business power transmission.
What makes you think your power lines are not 40, 50, 60 years old. (if you live in a mature community)

Reply to  bruce ryan
December 21, 2019 9:28 am

Well, we have hurricanes down here that appear once in a while to scour the landscape of the pesky electrical infrastructure. Jackson County, FL had to rebuild it completely last year when Michael passed by. Tree trimming is a daily event somewhere in the county of 1000 square miles.

michael hart
Reply to  Patrick
December 21, 2019 7:06 am

Yup. Once the State laws have driven all privately-owned generators in the state extinct (other than directly subsidized ones) then all the costs will fall directly on the State Government.

Reply to  michael hart
December 22, 2019 6:09 am

Command Economy. Centralized to save $$ (Soviet model). Federal generated electricity – like Shasta (California). “Municipal Electric entity (SMUD, Gridley etc etc, purchase via REA TVA electric KV (as planned need for a month) say 1000 watts. Knowing that the use-rate is 750 watts. Federal sells this to Entities at 75% Cost – making these entities have far cheaper electric rates than the evil Private pg and e. Who pays for the Federal Transmission Line maintenance? Cost of replacing Federal Hydro Generation turbines? Who is required by law to purchase excess watt energy that SMUD does not use? At what cost? Are Municipal Entities required to purchase Green solar electricity?

Greg Woods
December 21, 2019 4:38 am


Higher carbon dioxide levels could muddle our thinking

A team of researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder, the Colorado School of Public Health and the University of Pennsylvania has found evidence that suggests higher CO2 levels in the future may adversely impact the cognitive abilities of students in classrooms. The group has given a presentation at this year’s American Geophysical Union meeting outlining their research, and published a paper describing the findings on the EarthArXiv preprint server.

James R Clarke
Reply to  Greg Woods
December 21, 2019 4:53 am

The ambient outside CO2 level is nothing compared to the levels we create inside, when ever we gather in rooms and breathe; like a classroom, office or the House of Representatives. New energy efficient buildings, like the ones AOC and the Green Deal mandate, will be CO2 traps!

This may explain everything!

Dennis G Sandberg
Reply to  James R Clarke
December 21, 2019 8:27 pm › read › chapter
Data collected on nine nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines indicate an average CO2 concentration of 3,500 ppm with a range of 0-10,600 ppm, and data collected on 10 nuclear-powered attack submarines indicate an average CO2 concentration of 4,100 ppm with a range of 300-11,300 ppm (Hagar 2003).

LOL@Klimate Katastrophe Kooks
Reply to  Dennis G Sandberg
December 22, 2019 8:46 pm

I was on a fast attack that reached over 12,000 ppm CO2… our CO2 scrubber was down, and we were on station on an extended op off the Kamchatka Peninsula, watching Russian weapons launches at periscope depth, so we couldn’t get replacement parts. The bad part about it was that our O2 generator was also down, so we were running solely off the stored O2 from the oxygen tanks, and they were dangerously low. We’d burned through all our oxygen candles, so we were up against it as regards oxygen.

O2 concentration got so low that cigarette lighters wouldn’t light, and cigarettes (this was back in the bad old days when smoking was still allowed on subs) wouldn’t stay lit.

We operated like that for an extended period of time with no adverse effects except for a slight constant headache which made everyone short-tempered. You could tell who the smokers were, they were the most short-tempered of everyone.

We finally ran out of food, we were down to eating crackers and powdered mayonnaise, and three-bean salad, so we had to go off station and make a run to Guam to re-provision.

Yeah, our captain was bucking for a promotion, so we took all the hard ops, and spent an inordinate amount of time at-sea. Didn’t help that our sister ship had opened their steam stops with the main engine throttles wide open and the jacking gear engaged, which spun the jacking gear motor up to several tens of thousands of RPM, exploding it down into their main reduction gears and disabling the sub… so we took their ops, too.

After we got off station and came to snorkel depth to ventilate, that was the sweetest air I’d ever smelled.

Eric Simpson
Reply to  LOL@Klimate Katastrophe Kooks
December 23, 2019 3:11 am

Wow. Interesting story. 12000 ppm is really high. In classrooms (etc) I think it typically goes above 2000ppm, and we don’t notice any difference at all.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Greg Woods
December 21, 2019 4:56 am

“may adversely impact”

If their hypothesis is that CO2 causes harm to a human then exactly how do they plan to test this hypothesis? No ethical MD would violate the precept of “First, do no harm”.

“To find out, they created a model with two outcomes.”:

Once again a dependence on a a “model” instead of actual physical measurement. And the model’s output “assumes” the truth of the hypothesis being tested. It’s called circular logic. “The assumption is true because it is true. ”

What they are actually studying used to be known as “oxygen deprivation”, something that can occur in closed environments like submarines or space capsules. If students are enclosed in an environment like this then someone needs to talk to the architect that designed the air transport system for the building!

Reply to  Tim Gorman
December 21, 2019 6:07 am

Maybe the researchers are suffering from muddled thinking caused by higher CO2 levels.

One experiment we did in the physiology class at university was to see the effect of CO2 levels on our bodies.
We rebreathed air from a fixed container, whereupon our breathing became more laboured as the CO2 level rose. Eventually we found that we had to take the mask off as it became too uncomfortable to continue.
The second stage of the experiment was to absorb the CO2 in IIRC chloride of lime and rebreathed the air. This stage had to become in pairs as the lack of CO2 in the rebreathed air and reducing level of oxygen caused some of us to faint as we were in effect eventually only breathing a nitrogen/argon mixture.
How’s that for vivisection using students as guinea pigs?
One main effect is that I can remember the experiment 56 years later.

Reply to  Greg Woods
December 21, 2019 5:06 am

Could, should, may…reduce cognitive skills by 25% by 2100. As suggested by two models. How does this pass for legitimate research findings? I recall more rigor at my eighth grade science fair. But then again my mind may be muddled as that was decades ago. Thanks for catching this Greg.

Reply to  Greg Woods
December 21, 2019 6:17 am

This has been covered here before:

Basically, I think the US Navy would be concerned with irrational thinking in their subs. If they felt that higher CO2 levels caused irrational or “muddled” thinking, they would address that.

nw sage
Reply to  MikeH
December 21, 2019 4:41 pm

Excuse me – are you saying that the deliberations of the Legislature are on the same level of irrational thinking as the firing sequence of a nuclear submarine? — sarc

Reply to  Greg Woods
December 21, 2019 12:22 pm

“…has found evidence that suggests higher CO2 levels in the future may adversely impact the cognitive abilities of students in classrooms.”

It seems that the lower CO2 levels of today has adversely impacted the cognitive abilities of today’s university population on campus. 🙂

Reply to  Greg Woods
December 21, 2019 1:54 pm

Research :-
subject :- Navy
Object :- Submarines
Topic :- CO2 levels on active duty
been there, got the t shirt 40 years ago, obviously a loss of memory there by Boulder

Reply to  jono1066
December 25, 2019 7:03 pm

Perhaps it is the the low oxygen levels in Boulder.

Reply to  Greg Woods
December 25, 2019 6:55 pm

Have a Netatmo Weather station which measures CO2 level inside the home. The only time it reads below 400 PPM is right after I have it run the calibration routine. It is back up to the high 400s in a few hours and stays between 400 and 600 there till I run it again.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  Greg Woods
January 2, 2020 9:15 am

Greg Woods TOT

“found evidence that suggests higher CO2 levels in the future may adversely impact the cognitive abilities of students in classrooms.”

Sadly they didn’t find evidence that suggests:

opening windows in classrooms + releasing the students into open air for a quarter of an hour, too

would prevent impacts on cognitive abilities of students herded in classrooms.

James R Clarke
December 21, 2019 4:43 am

Since PG & E can’t print money like the Feds, they will need to collect this money from their customers, raising energy costs even further. The public and press won’t connect the dots to the renewable energy scam like this video did. Victims will only be paying for their own settlement while continuing to be victimized!

bruce ryan
Reply to  James R Clarke
December 21, 2019 6:34 am

James, I agree, but I also think this is the canary in the coal mine. Every transmission line in every part of the country is developing loneliness wrinkles. So what you see now in California is going to become apparent in Washington, Oregon, Vermont, Flordia… This means once the shtf the price of power will be $2,3.. dollars a KWh. People’s power costs will be three thousand dollars a month. Of course, Congress won’t let that stand and it will be free power for all. btw, If California has only gone green in the last thirty years how do you account for the poor transmission maintenance before that? Afraid it’s very poor corporate policy.
It won’t matter how the electricity is generated it can’t be transmitted without incurring high costs.
That spells small local nuclear power stations with modest transmission distances. But then I can’t spell very well, so you might see green energy and infrastructure spending, Even then it will get darker more often than it looks now.

James R Clarke
Reply to  bruce ryan
December 21, 2019 7:50 am

I hear ya Bruce. I am just a little more optimistic. We didn’t get to the top of the food chain by being completely incompetent. That only seems to work in politics.

Cleverness, intelligence, ingenuity and hard work are still rewarded in the real world, and future problems will be solved much more efficiently in the future than in the present. We keep thinking we need to cross bridges we haven’t come to yet, apparently believing humans will lose the ability to cross bridges in the future.

It is a form of hubris to believe future generations well be less able than we are. History tells us the exact opposite. The threat to the future is not technical or environmental. It is social. When society no longer rewards competence and ingenuity, the future is in trouble. Until then, I am not worried about it.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  James R Clarke
December 21, 2019 2:12 pm

We didn’t get to the top of the food chain by being completely incompetent. That only seems to work in politics.

Beautifully put. I’m pinching that one!

Reply to  bruce ryan
December 21, 2019 9:25 am

Do you have any source for your take on the aging of the infrastructure nationwide? My local electric membership co-op spends quite a bit on maintenance and infrastructure.

I suspect CA’s policies left PG&E in a unique position, between a rock and a hard place. The public service commission limited how much they could charge, and required massive investments in green technology. Also, every utility needs to pay its investors if they wish to continue operations; utilities universally carry a heavy debt load that must be paid on and constantly rolled-over.

So their economic picture looked like this:

Income (limited by regulation) must fund mandatory green investments, plus debt and investor payments, plus operating expenses. After all that, there just wasn’t enough money left for basic maintenance (e.g., tree trimming), and nothing for infrastructure upgrades. Remove all the green investment and the debacle may not have happened at all.

So far, all the green investments (primarily, in solar power) in my area has been funded through grants, subsidies, and voluntary subscriptions (paying more for electricity from the solar plant). No revenue is being diverted to green technology.

Reply to  bruce ryan
December 21, 2019 11:07 am

Not everyplace. The local power company in my neck of the woods (NE Arizona) just redid all the power lines a couple of years ago.

Reply to  bruce ryan
December 21, 2019 11:18 am

re: “So what you see now in California is going to become apparent in Washington, Oregon, Vermont, Flordia… This means once the shtf the price of power will be $2,3.. dollars a KWh. People’s power costs will be three thousand dollars a month.”

Naturally, this view of the future uses “straight line” extrapolation into that future and assumes that we will do things in the future the way we did things in the past .. BUT what did we do 100 years ago? Large parts of the country were electricy-less (my Dad talked of kerosene lamps being used on the farm!)

Fifty years on could see wild deviations in a straight-line projection. There is work afoot on several fronts that could see the decentralization of electricity generation. It has been the ‘economies of scale’ that has driven large, central-plant generation. If costs are lowered on simpler, easily installed gen sets/stations (while maintaining good reliability) then a revolution in the power gen (and transmission/distribution) industry is just over the horizon.

Reply to  _Jim
December 25, 2019 7:00 pm

With decentralized generation who is going to pay for the distribution infrastructure ???

Reply to  Usurbrain
December 25, 2019 8:57 pm

re: “With decentralized generation who is going to pay for the distribution infrastructure ???”

What? You’ve never heard the term “stranded asset” before? (I’m assuming you mean the existing distribution network -plus transmission- that may not be needed anymore. You weren’t perfectly clear.)

Stranded assets are “assets that have suffered from unanticipated or premature write-downs, devaluations or conversion to liabilities”. … In this context, stranded assets are also defined as an asset that has become obsolete or non-performing, but must be recorded on the balance sheet as a loss of profit.

Jim G
Reply to  James R Clarke
December 21, 2019 9:28 am

It’s taxation by proxy.

California cannot pass a new “tax” on the people without voter approval.
So the State sues a company and the company can collect it from the people.

Ironically, all they have to do is state that the tax is “for the children” and the measures always pass.

William Astley
Reply to  James R Clarke
December 21, 2019 12:58 pm

I totally agree.

Electric power costs in California are going to soar like an eagle when there is power available.

Cost for California to achieve carbon neutral using sun and wind gathering…. …. priceless …

… and the cost for wire replacement and no ending lawsuits for fires …. more costs on top of priceless.

As companies cannot print money, either they get the money from power users, the state, or they stop supplying power.

In addition, ratepayers would ultimately have to pay back PG&E’s debt if they want to keep the lights on.

The utility has already “sought permission from U.S. energy regulators for a 9.5 percent increase in transmission charges due to the higher risk of wildfires”… translating to a cost increase for the average customer.

And if history repeats itself, it’s worth noting that PG&E’s 2001 bankruptcy closed in a settlement that allowed the utility to pass on about $7 billion in costs via increased rates to loyal customers.

December 21, 2019 4:46 am

Pacific Gas & Electric make California the state that it was. I was there 1948 – 1969. Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

James R Clarke
Reply to  Doug Huffman
December 21, 2019 5:50 am


December 21, 2019 6:22 am

Just another source of income for a communist, harmful state government. After the parasites have bleed dry every corporation they can, the money runs out. Then there’s Venezuela in its finest. As far as I know, California can’t “nationalize” industries, so they will just have to sue every utility, chemical company, oil company, any company until they have bled the hosts dry. It was faster in Venezuela with the government just taking the industries, but same the same result will occur in California. Maybe they’ll even make illegal to leave or talk about people freezing and eating out of garbage cans. Love how Americans so mimic the failures of the rest of the world. One thing is true: America is no longer innovative or unique.

Reply to  Sheri
December 21, 2019 10:38 am

PG&E has been “state-ized” in Cali through laws governing virtually everything it does. The Board of Directors and the company Officers have little control left to them.

Gary Wescom
December 21, 2019 6:55 am

I know it is hard to see past the blame game in this maintenance issue. First off, the Investor Owned Utilities have not been able to set their own maintenance budgets since the mid 1990’s. PG&E’s biannual rate review requires that company to produce a document many thousands of pages long with line items for everything the company might pay out. Maintenance items must be broken out an can require hundreds of pages in the document. The CPUC plus a series of Administrative Law Judges comb through the document to cut back things that they feel is excessive and require added budgeting for their favorite causes. In one instance years ago, one judge cut maintenance funding claiming “Rate payers must not be required to pay for Excellent service when all that is needed is Adequate service.” Later another judge in the same rate case fined the company for not funding sufficiently for Excellent service. That is what it is like on the utility company side the maintenance funding issue. CPUC personnel count has increased over the recent decades and most new people have been selected for their ‘Green’ leaning attitudes. These folks are clueless about real world utility maintenance issues.

brian bishop
December 21, 2019 7:23 am

The answer isn’t to soak ratepayers even if one could curtail economically abusrd investments in ‘renewables’. Rather, getting as many as possible off the grid is the obvious answer, especially for relatively sparsely inhabited regions where the miles of distribution per user are an absurdity leftover from the rural electrification act. You still will have transmission lines from hydro-electric generation in rural areas that serve dense populations elsewhere that require upkeep or replacement. But the more pedestrian distribution lines on wood poles depicted in the video as a major part of the thousands of miles that need replacing throughout rural areas in California is an incredible waste. While dense habitations can not be well served by more dispersed ‘renewable’ sources, home level generating and storage options including traditional and renewable methods are proliferating. Much overlooked in the equally mindless government push for EVs is the potential for ICE mode to enable two-way plug-in hybrid vehicles as generators,storage and even transport.

Those exurban dwellers who work in or travel to more dense developments with grids can charge hybrids and bring the power home rather than the present standard of grids to everywhere and charging at home). This is practical with hybrids where the ICE backup that means that the electric storage capabilities don’t necessarily need to be preserved in every instance for the electrically powered range to go back to town and where the engine will start automatically to recharge the batteries if the stored energy is used. Biggest issue to be overcome with such a system is the heat in the batteries, a serious question but not one that has prevented even hybrids not designed with this function in mind from being coopted, either by one off inventors in the US or even by Toyota who provided such an option for Prius owners in Japan after Fukishima and associated shutdown of other nuclear plants caused grid instability there.

There is, of course, virtually no interest in this glaringly obvious approach (either for recovery in puerto rico, for instance, or california) because it does not create an IV from people’s wallets into the bank accounts of utilities and it is outside the purview of utilities regulators and thus diminishes their power. None of the institutions built up around electric utilities want a perfect storm of people taking care of themselves. And automakers who could be marketing on this basis, especially given the extent of the world and potential markets that have no grid anyway, are cowed by developed world push for EVs. No question EVs are simpler technology than hybrid but if that enough on its own the market would be flooded with these vehicles at a discount. As it is they can barely be sold with subsidies.

On the other hand there are high load electric uses ready for prime time right now. Anybody who works in the trades knows that the previous need for concentrated amperage for operating tools is being completely replaced by cordless tools. So unlike a grid system where power potential needed to be maintained for the chaotic reality of anybody pulling the trigger on a powers tool anywhere on the grid at anytime, power is now slowly accumulated by the user in batteries on the basis of when they need to pull those triggers and that concentrated amperage discharged when needed by user. This frees workers from cords, and the phenomenon is even reaching stationary tools such as large miter saws and table saws aided in no small part by improvements in motor technology, both ECM (electric commutation, i.e. brushless motors) but also improved operation control it makes possible.

This is not a paean that we somehow will all have little personal carbon free energy existence, but that thoughtful combinations of improving technologies for generating, storing, and using electricity–explicitly including carbon based generation as the backbone of backup for any personal system–can be employed situationally to get off the grid without much effect on quality of life given the lower power requirements of home systems and the small battery related solutions to brief high loads. And with the parallel market driven improvements in cordless technologies and vast expense on grid infrastructure, such an off grid existence doesn’t look as much like some posh value statement but like an affordable alternative.

The predominate load to be contemplated in home grids that is not currently (sorry) accommodated is heat pumping/airconditioning which are longer lasting medium loads. While more efficient than resistance based heating or direct electric cooling, they still require long duration electric motor operation. Of course homes in less humid environments with sufficient water supply can use even more efficient swamp coolers and there are quite simple heat solutions for storing electricly generated heat like a battery. And we have awesome technologies for direct carbon based heat production. So we’re down to talking about air conditioning in certian circumstances–not a non-issue, but one susceptible of address from both an insulation and ventilation standpoint as well as the efficiency of refrigerants and compressors. And there have actually always been direct carbon based mechanical and non-mechanical refrigeration solutions lifting the process out of pure dependency on electric motor based compression.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  brian bishop
December 21, 2019 9:40 am

The hybrid vehicle that you want to use to power your home sounds like a gasoline or diesel generator to me. Maybe that’s why nobody is building these vehicles you want. The last time I looked the US was still capitalist and if the auto companies thought they could make a profit on your proposed product you would certainly see it in showrooms. Maybe you should leave the business decisions to someone who understands the business.

Reply to  brian bishop
December 21, 2019 11:44 am

re: “Anybody who works in the trades knows that the previous need for concentrated amperage for operating tools is being completely replaced by cordless tools.”

Nice try at “slipping this in”; Power saws and welders come to mind as NOT quite ready for prime time in this respect … even the better cordless power nailers use a propane/butane as the prime energy source. And I speak as one who bought one of the early cordless soldering pencil ‘irons’ back in the 70’s and having picked up though the years various batt-powered, cordless devices.

I addressed a poster up-thread on how most solutions, most outlooks are based on straight-line ‘projections’ of what we did yesterday as to what we will do 50 years on; such straight-line thinking is fraught with error as divergence from the “straight-line” occurs the further into the future we go.

Jim G
Reply to  _Jim
December 21, 2019 12:26 pm

That was the phrase that stood out to me as well!
Let’s see someone run a 220 ton molding machine or 100 ton punch press (all 220 VAC 3 phase machines) off a Prius. BTW, on these machines, someone “pulls the trigger” anywhere from a 5 sec – 120 sec cycle.

To me the simple truth of the matter is that the more locations that store energy, the more fires there will be.

michael hart
Reply to  brian bishop
December 21, 2019 12:49 pm

Brian Bishop, your faith in the current ability, and affordability, of electrical storage devices to fulfill modern needs strikes me as slightly naive.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  michael hart
December 21, 2019 2:06 pm

” . . slightly naive . . ”

– stupendously naive –

Fixed it for you. You’re welcome.

Jim M
Reply to  brian bishop
December 22, 2019 6:53 am

All the more reason California needs desperately to jump back into the rare earth metals mining business. From California to California. Lets have the great State of California takeover and expand the Mountain Pass mine so “folks” can get a real good look at the real world. sarc

December 21, 2019 8:06 am

Informative video 🙂

California, just thinking here, 55 Electoral College votes, the largest for any State in the Union, and most of the votes come from a couple of coastal cities that are trying to become giant Hoovervilles, and making a concerted effort to reinvigorate diseases long forgotten in the civilised world ?

Yet on the flip side, the State is fantastically successful in economic terms, being the worlds 6th or 7th largest economy if it were a country on its own, and paying much more into the Federal scheme than it takes out.

Conundrum, and a big one 🙂

john harmsworth
Reply to  Fanakapan
December 21, 2019 8:51 am

When federal deficit spending is taken into account, is there any state that actually pays in more than they get back? I doubt it.

Mods, will this post?

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Fanakapan
December 21, 2019 9:29 am

States don’t pay into the Federal scheme, citizens do. California has so many wealthy living there that they pay disproportionately for the benefits enjoyed by poorer citizens in other states. However, the progressives designed progressive taxation so how is it they blame this situation on the citizens of “red” states? The conundrum is that they fail to comprehend this.

That having been said, even if one can say figuratively that California pays into the Federal scheme more than taken out, this is actually a very tricky thing to measure. I would counter that the progressive version of California has not been run long enough to know whether it pays more or not. I wish sometimes I could get paid to chase some of these truisms like the red states being a net drain, but I think no one wants the truth.

Reply to  Fanakapan
December 21, 2019 11:34 am

Paying more in than taking out? Just barely – around 1%. What you and others neglect is the federal government is one of your biggest employees. Take that away, which we surely would if you were not a state, and CA would not see a statistically significant increase in net revenues.

Looking at the situation in a different way: if the US spent as much money in Mississippi as it does California, MS would pay more in taxes (per your calculations) than it received from the government.

But if CA were not a state, and federal government facilities (e.g., military bases, ports, etc) were relocated to other states, then a great many supporting businesses (think defense industries) would relocate, as well. Your GDP would decline significantly.

An independent CA would be substantially poorer than many believe.

Reply to  Fanakapan
December 22, 2019 11:38 am

That guy is a Boeing 777 captain. He does some good videos on current air accidents.

Steve Oregon
December 21, 2019 9:10 am

What a festering sore of dysfunction.
Humans with defects propagating chaos, destruction and a cost of upgrade so high it can never be met.
All of which is being exacerbated by diverting vast sums away from the highest priorities.
At the same time pretending to be championing a righteous agenda for the greater good.
A stupid, wrong, deceitful and truly maniacal agenda.
AKA Progressive

Kevin kilty
Reply to  Steve Oregon
December 21, 2019 9:43 am

Indeed, a terrible trilemma.

M__ S__
December 21, 2019 9:32 am

Yes hardware will fail, and without forest management this will lead to fires

Pg&e should just walk away

December 21, 2019 9:40 am

Rhetorical question: Where does the money eventually come from that a large utility (that won’t go out of business) is ordered to pay in a settlement?

Gary Wescom
Reply to  beng135
December 21, 2019 11:14 am

Easy: Issue interest paying bonds. Then customers can pay for both the current utility operating costs plus pay the interest on the bonds. Folks just don’t seem to realize corporations are not people. All that they have and all that they are is completely payed for by their customers. Corporations do not, have not, and never will pay taxes. Government required tax money and money for fines can only come from customers.

Keep in mind that under CPUC rules the Investor Owned Utilities cannot accumulate or hold more than a tiny percentage of their annual income. Because of this PG&E borrows money when power prices are high and pays it back when the price drops. If the CPUC’s calculations are correct the borrowing and paying balance out at the end of the fiscal year.

Garland Lowe
December 21, 2019 10:59 am

So climate change did start the fires or more correctly the attempted mitigation of climate change. I guess it’s okay for people to die for the climate cause.

TG McCoy
December 21, 2019 11:05 am

Juan Brown is a treasure.His investigations and commentary are very well done.
From avation to the the Calpocalyse , his worth subscribing to..

Mike Dubrasich
December 21, 2019 12:36 pm

Note the background. It’s a thicket of trees and shrubs with closed canopy and fuels laddered from ground to crowns. He speaks from a wooden deck overlooking the fuel. Another home or structure is buried in the fuel in the distance.

A fire in that fuel on a dry day will blow up and destroy the neighborhood. It won’t make any difference what ignites the fire. It could be a power line, or a car, or kids playing with matches, or a lightning strike, or a homeless campfire, or a burn barrel, or a chainsaw, or a barbeque, or fireworks, or one of a hundred other spark sources.

It’s the fuels, stupid. It’s photosynthesis. It’s the accumulated biomass. It’s the lack of any effort to manage the fuel. It’s pathetic residents who neglect their yards, neighborhoods, and watersheds — and then blame the government or utility companies when their homes incinerate.

It’s the sheer volume of fuels and the continuity of the fuels across the terrain. It’s the lack of historical awareness — that fuels can and will burn, that for millennia the previous residents deliberately torched those landscapes so as to control fuel build-up and avoid devastating wildfires. It’s a lack of willingness to tackle the fuel problem head-on. It’s years and years and decades of neglect until the biomass has grown to hundreds of tons per acre.

So blame somebody else. It must be global warming. It must be the power company. It must be the politicians. It must be somebody’s fault, anybody’s, other than the victims — the residents who could have tended their lands but didn’t, until it was too late.

Jim G
Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
December 21, 2019 12:54 pm

The problem is that you have competing agencies that have diametrically opposed interests.

I know someone who lives near a dry stream bed.
The Army Corp of Engineers wants the stream bed kept clear of growth and debris.
The EPA however, want’s the new growth to serve as homes for the little critters.
As a landowner, who do you obey?

The result is they let the agencies duke it out, which means a status quo where nothing happens and nothing gets fixed. And a problem is created down the road.

CPUC controls PG&E’s budget.
The beauty is, that if PG&E’s systems fail due to lack of maintenance, CPUC won’t shoulder the blame.

Mike Dubrasich
Reply to  Jim G
December 21, 2019 4:01 pm

Jim G:

It is quite forested where I live. Tree limbs hang over the power lines. Line crews in cranes saw away all summer, but the vegetation is scarcely controlled. And it is true that some of my neighbors live in overgrown thickets, but I don’t.

My property is mostly cleared, with large gardens, an orchard, and lots of lawns. I irrigate and mow 5 of my 7 acres frequently. I have a very fine riding mower — water cooled diesel 4wd — and I love it. My property is gorgeous. And it is also fire safe. The whole darn neighborhood could go up in flames but not my place. I know how to tend it, care for it, and protect it.

Yes, the stupid state and fed gummits are a pain and an obstacle. But the County is locally run, the Commissioners live here, and they are not (complete) fools. They have better things to do than hassle landowners for clearing, mowing, and maintaining safe conditions.

Some of my neighbors are poor. Some are foolish and lazy. But enough of us are wise to the ways, keep the brush down, and break up the continuity of the vegetation so that it is unlikely we’ll all burn. More could be done, but it is our responsibility; we don’t depend on outsiders, we are in charge of our own lives. It is called self-reliance and it is what this nation ought to embrace.

Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
December 21, 2019 5:06 pm

That’s nice, but your self-reliance only works if the power lines feeding you aren’t at risk between you and the power plant.
The SF Bay Area has been finding this out – the PG & E power outages are hitting rural areas hard, even places like San Mateo which are on the Peninsula and a full blown suburb as opposed to a rural county.
The outages have also hit places like Lawrence Livermore Labs and UC Berkeley.

Jim G
Reply to  Mike Dubrasich
December 22, 2019 5:04 am

Yes Mike;
But YOU are clearing YOUR property.
This is wise and good and right.
In our area, the FD will try to protect the homes that don’t have the defensible zone, but will prioritize the ones that do have a defensible zone.

The problem comes when you have lines crossing State or Federally owned land.
That’s where the competing interests come out of the woodwork to save the trees and critters.

We have flood control channels that were designed to be just that.
In Los Angeles, they trickle most of the year, and so vegetation grows.
We have seen the battles over clearing it out.
It really is quite silly.
But people still fight over it.

Sadly, power outages like this are something that happens in 3rd world countries.
Not the 7th largest economy in the world.

Mike Dubrasich
December 21, 2019 7:34 pm

We have outages due to natural events. The grid is not impervious. But your outages are political. When the power is deliberately shut off to half of CA 5 or 6 times for days on end when the grid is fully intact, then the problem is in the executive offices, not on the ground.

Sorry, but I have no solution for you. Move away, or get a generator. I’ve got one for the rare times when the power goes out — mainly due to storms. We don’t lose power because of lawsuits. That’s a CA issue, one of many that are caused by the idiots you elect.

Farmer Ch E retired
December 22, 2019 6:59 am

MODs – thanks for posting Juan’s update. Please add an “e” to his name Juan Browne.

Snarling Dolphin
December 22, 2019 1:55 pm

Never a good idea to put people who don’t know what they’re doing in charge of anything. Ergo greens, environmental zealots, should have nothing to do with energy production and delivery. Windmills? Solar panels? Laughable. And worse, destructive.
Great to see photographic evidence that the Camp fire wasn’t caused by global warming. Rather a poorly maintained tower. Kids, take note.

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