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PG&E Says It’s Better Prepared Than Ever for Looming Fire Season

  • No need yet for fire-prevention blackouts, utility says
  • Company is insulating lines, segmenting grid to limit outages
PG&E workers install a Viper Recloser in Yountville, California, on April 29, 2020. 
Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
Updated on

As drought-stricken California braces for a potentially catastrophic wildfire season, utility giant PG&E Corp. said it’s better positioned to limit the extent of power shutoffs aimed at preventing wires from sparking blazes.

The company, which was forced into bankruptcy in 2019 after its equipment started a string of deadly fires, has installed 600 miles (965 kilometers) of insulated wires or buried power lines in the most fire-prone parts of its system. It’s also added about 980 “sectionalizing” devices that can limit the size of its preemptive blackouts.