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PG&E Probation Judge Calls for Safety Overhaul in Scathing Order

  • Utility must hire in-house team to inspect outsourced work
  • Company must inventory equipment on every transmission line
Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
Updated on

The federal judge overseeing PG&E Corp.’s criminal probation imposed stricter and potentially costly operation rules on the bankrupt utility, concluding it “cannot safely deliver power to California” after its equipment ignited a series of devastating wildfires.

Using the power of the court to tighten regulatory reigns, U.S. District Judge William Alsup late Wednesday reinforced his demands that the utility comply with state laws mandating clearance between trees and power lines. He took particular aim at PG&E’s reliance on contract workers for tree-trimming and hazard inspections, saying the practice “remains sloppy and unreliable” -- and dangerous.