Written by Amanda Williams
It is no understatement that PG&E, the largest utility company in California, is severely drowning in light of the new wildfires burning across Northern California. Not only have they cut off electricity to millions of customers, but they are facing bankruptcy due to all costs and claims that need to be paid. Yet, there is no sympathy considering their main responsibility as a utility company is to help prevent situations exactly like this.
Interestingly enough, the Northern California wildfires are not the first example of the incompetency seen at PG&E. Firstly, the company was liable for the most devastating fire to ever afflict California: the Butte County Camp Fire. Consequently, it was later discovered that PG&E was liable for 1,500 of 2,000 fires that occurred between June 2014 and December 2017. It appears that PG&E has more of a specialty for fire production than prevention.
In the most recent wildfires, the pattern of poor management has followed. In a futile attempt to prevent another destructive fire, the company plans to employ power shutoffs to 800,000 customers in junction with the expansion of the power shutoff area, which will affect 5.4 million customers.
Moreover, PG&E intends to improve upon their equipment as a fire prevention tactic. Any citizen could have recognized that an improvement was needed given the attributed 1,500 wildfires in PG&E’s track history.
However, the inability of PG&E to manage is extremely embarrassing and detrimental. Hundreds of thousands of customers are facing severe consequences at the hands of PG&E’s failures and ineffectiveness. Families who have faced losses will not recuperate the full amount they deserve because of the ineptitude of PG&E.
Furthermore, customers might be faced with paying for the remaining $30 million PG&E costs as a result of their bankruptcy. In fact, one of the main reasons PG&E filed bankruptcy was so they could pass the costs onto the customers as seen in 2001.
Hundreds of thousands of customers are suffering as a result of abysmal management, and the worst part of it all? PG&E simply does not seem to care. The company is more concerned with evading any more payment and is solely looking out for their own interests. Customers have lost homes and loved ones, but that is just a minute detail in the back of PG&E’s mind.
No one at PG&E is producing a concrete resolution, but instead concocting a way to escape more liability. The recent behavior of PG&E is the epitome of cowardice especially with regard to having suffering customers clean up their mess. Fear not, though, PG&E promised to work effectively and diligently this time around—hopefully before another 1,500 wildfires ensue.