SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – PG&E and other electric utility companies operating in California may need to move their transmission lines and equipment out of fire zones or put the lines underground if a new state bill becomes law.
Assemblyman Jim Frazier (D – Discovery Bay) introduced AB 281 on Monday as a way to minimize the risk of future wildfires.
The bill would:
“Require electrical corporations and local publicly owned electric utilities to relocate electric transmission and distribution lines and equipment outside of high fire risk areas, if feasible.
Require electrical corporations and local publicly owned electric utilities, for overhead electric transmission and distribution lines and equipment as to which the requirement of subdivision (a) is not feasible, to relocate those lines and that equipment underground.
Require electrical corporations and local publicly owned electric utilities, for electric transmission and distribution lines and equipment as to which the requirements of subdivisions (a) and (b) are not feasible, to make improvements to those lines and that equipment to prevent, and minimize the risk of, fire ignition events.”
In 2017 nearly 9,000 wildfires burned more than 1 million acres of land and destroyed approximately 11,000 structures. 47 people were killed. Last year more than 8,500 wildfires, including the Camp and Carr Fires, burned almost two million acres of land and destroyed approximately 20,000 structures. 104 people were killed.
PG&E is being investigated for its role in the Camp Fire. CAL Fire previously blamed PG&E utility lines for starting 12 wildfires in October 2017. CAL Fire did determine PG&E isn’t responsible for the Tubbs Fire. Private electrical equipment found at a home in Calistoga was found to be the cause of the fire, which killed 22 people and burned more than 5,500 structures.
The bill was introduced a day before PG&E filed for bankruptcy.