US: PG&E says its distribution lines caused no deadly fires in 2019 - - PressFrom - US
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US PG&E says its distribution lines caused no deadly fires in 2019

20:20  29 november  2019
20:20  29 november  2019 Source:   reuters.com

Maine woman missing for week charged with setting fires

  Maine woman missing for week charged with setting fires Police have charged a Maine woman missing for a week with setting two fires at her home the day she disappeared. Aza Jerome, 56, was found Tuesday in Orland. She had been missing since Veterans Day. Sign up for our Newsletters Officers charged Aza Jerome when she was released from Eastern Maine Medical Center, Maine State Police said. Aza Jerome was found at the Craig's Brook fish hatchery on Tuesday, which is 12 miles from her home on Town Farm Road in Bucksport, police said.Police said they believe Aza Jerome had been staying in some buildings during the week of her disappearance.The fire caused $50,000 in damage.

(Reuters) - California utility PG&E Corp has determined there were no lives or structures lost in 2019 wildfires that may have been caused by its distribution lines, according to a Friday court filing.

a plane flying in the sky: FILE PHOTO: An air tanker makes a retardant drop while battling the Kincade fire near Calistoga, California© Reuters/Stephen Lam FILE PHOTO: An air tanker makes a retardant drop while battling the Kincade fire near Calistoga, California

The company also said it found 218 instances of damage from wind or falling vegetation that could have caused wildfires if it had not taken the controversial step of shutting power to millions of customers during high winds in late October.

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January to deal with $30 billion of liability from wildfires linked to its equipment in 2017 and 2018.

Maine woman missing for week charged with setting fires

  Maine woman missing for week charged with setting fires A court hearing was underway in Puerto Rico for the grandfather of a toddler who died after falling from a cruise ship window. Salvatore Anello is charged with negligent homicide in the death of 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand. The little girl fell more than 100 feet back in July, when Anello lifted her up to an open window while the ship docked in San Juan. The family’s attorney says Anello thought the window was closed. David Begnaud reports.

On Wednesday, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali ruled PG&E is subject to the legal doctrine of inverse condemnation, which holds the company strictly liable for fires tied to its equipment, even if the utility was not negligent.

The ruling was a victory for wildfire victims who are pursuing PG&E for compensation, and the company's stock fell around 5% in early Friday trading, before recovering most losses.

To try to prevent fires, PG&E has been using the mass blackouts during high winds and low humidity. Six of the 10 most destructive wildfires in California history have been caused by electrical equipment or power lines.

The company also said in Friday's filing with the U.S. District Court in San Francisco that a broken PG&E cable reported in the area of Northern California's massive Kincade Fire last month was last inspected on July 19.

Technology to keep lights on could help prevent wildfires

  Technology to keep lights on could help prevent wildfires LOS ANGELES (AP) — B. Don Russell wasn’t thinking about preventing a wildfire when he developed a tool to detect power line problems before blackouts and bigger disasters. The electrical engineering professor at Texas A&M University figured he might save a life if his creation could prevent someone from being electrocuted by a downed live wire. But fire prevention may be his product’s biggest selling point in California and other places that have experienced devastating wildland blazes blamed on electrical equipment.

Fire officials in California have not determined the cause of the Kincade Fire, which raced through Sonoma County wine country, charring more than 75,000 acres (30,351 hectares), destroying hundreds of structures and forcing thousands to flee.

PG&E was responding on Friday to questions from Judge William Alsup about late October fires to determine if the company has complied with terms of its probation imposed after a felony conviction over a 2010 pipeline explosion.

Alsup has ordered the company to adopt wildfire safety measures and to appoint a board of directors committee to be responsible for implementing those steps. He barred the company from issuing dividends until it is in compliance.

The company has been accused of cutting corners on maintenance, including on equipment blamed for last year's Camp Fire, the most expensive in California history, which killed more than 80 people and destroyed the town of Paradise.

PG&E has said it strongly disagrees with allegations it failed to perform necessary upgrades.

(Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Del.; Editing by Bill Berkrot and Matthew Lewis)

California power shutoff: largest utility to intentionally cut electricity to 150,000 customers .
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. expects high winds and dry conditions over the next 24 hours, leading to increased fire risk. The public safety power shutoff will affect 18 counties, PG&E said.The shutoffs will begin as early as 6 a.m. local time and as late as 4 p.m., and will affect Northern California areas of the Sierra Foothills, the North Bay and the North Valley.

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