Bankrupt PG&E Is Sparking Fewer California Wildfires This Year

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(Bloomberg) -- PG&E Corp., which filed for bankruptcy in January in the face of $30 billion in claims from wildfires blamed on its equipment, has so far sparked fewer larger fires this year in northern California compared to 2018.

PG&E said its equipment may have caused nine wildfires, each covering at least 10 acres, as of Sept. 17, according to a report submitted Tuesday to a San Francisco federal judge. That’s down from 19 fires of comparable size for the same period a year ago, according to data filed with the California Public Utilities Commission.

PG&E also said it has cleared trees away from 760 miles (1,223 kilometers) of power lines in high fire-risk areas out of a target of 2,455 miles for 2019. The company said it’s substantially completed its inspections of its system in fire-risk areas and made all repairs that needed immediate attention.

PG&E’s disclosure came in response to a request by U.S. District Judge William Alsup for information on how the utility is preparing for high-wind season. Alsup is overseeing PG&E’s probation stemming from its 2016 criminal conviction for safety violations following a fatal natural-gas pipeline explosion in 2010.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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