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PG&E Plan to Bury Power Lines to Minimize Wildfire Risk Clears Hurdle in California

  • Utility aims to bury 10,000 miles of power lines to stop fires
  • California measure will speed up review of PG&E’s plan
A firefighter extinguishes a structure fire in the Montclair Hills neighborhood of Oakland, California, in Oct. 2020. The preliminary cause of the fire was an overloaded generator. PG&E cut power in the area to prevent live wires from falling into dry brush during the wind storms.

A firefighter extinguishes a structure fire in the Montclair Hills neighborhood of Oakland, California, in Oct. 2020. The preliminary cause of the fire was an overloaded generator. PG&E cut power in the area to prevent live wires from falling into dry brush during the wind storms.

Photographer: Philip Pacheco/Bloomberg

California lawmakers passed a bill late Wednesday that aims to speed up a review of an ambitious plan by PG&E Corp. to bury its power lines in areas at greatest risk for wildfires.

The measure, if signed by Governor Gavin Newsom, would require state agencies to evaluate PG&E’s proposal within 18 months and mandate oversight of the utility’s work if its plan is approved.