PG&E Slapped with ‘Enhanced Oversight’ for Vegetation Management Modeling Problems

Already under fire for its vegetation management practices by the federal judge overseeing its criminal probation proceedings, PG&E got slammed Thursday by another one of its masters.

Citing numerous deficiencies in PG&E’s wildfire mitigation efforts, the California Public Utilities Commission voted to adopt a resolution that places PG&E on Step 1 of a six step ladder of “enhanced oversight” that at Step 6 would lead to “the potential revocation of PG&E’s ability to operate as a California electric utility.”

The six stages of oversight were established as part of the CPUC’s approval of PG&E’s plan of reorganization, the mechanism by which PG&E was able to exit from its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

The “triggering event” that sparked the CPUC’s order was a finding that PG&E has not made adequate progress in utilizing risk management tools to determine where its vegetation management efforts should be directed.

The management of trees and shrubbery throughout PG&E’s extensive system of power distribution and service lines is of great importance in reducing wildfires because when high winds blow trees or vegetation onto uninsulated wires, sparks can fall to the ground and ignite the dry grasses.

U.S. District Judge Alsup is currently considering proposals that would require PG&E to consider the risk of trees falling onto power lines as part of the conditions to its criminal probation.

Alsup has been highly critical of PG&E’s efforts to abate the risk of wildfires. In one recent order Alsup recounted what he called a “a stunning chapter in California history.”

According to his tally, since PG&E was placed on probation following a 2016 conviction for a 2010 gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno, “PG&E has ignited 20 or more wildfires in California, killing at least 111 individuals, destroying at least 22,627 structures, and burning half a million acres.”

Alsup’s order recounted the grim specifics:  the Wine Country Fires in 2017 (22 dead, 3,256 structures destroyed); the Camp Fire in 2018 (85 dead, 18,793 structures burned); the Kincade Fire in 2019 (374 structures destroyed); and most recently the Zogg Fire in 2020 (4 dead, 204 structures destroyed).

Judge Alsup has frequently criticized PG&E for neglecting to perform vegetation management at required levels for a decade. The judge has also criticized CPUC for allowing that neglect.

The CPUC order requires among other things for PG&E to submit within 90 days a “corrective action plan” that explains in detail “how it will both perform risk modeling and use the results of risk modeling to ensure the highest risk power lines are prioritized for vegetation management.”

The action was based on an audit conducted the Wildfire Safety Division of the CPUC during the period from Oct. 21, 2020 to Feb. 5, 2021. The audit identified deficiencies in PG&E’s use of risk modeling to inform its vegetation management efforts.


  1. Oh Goldberg, your so wrong again, AOC says we only have 12 years till the entire planet burst into flames, and that was 3 years ago so you only have 9 left. Every scientist in the world knows Bambi eyed debutant formerly known as Sandy from Yorktown Heights can not be challenged on any issue as she was once a bartender and is now de-facto Speaker of the House. To hell with Carl Sagan if he was smart he’d still be alive, billions and billions of seconds later.
    If we get rid all that toxic CO2, plants will die, Oxygen will not be made and what’s left here will suffocate in a cloud of methane and nitrogen gas.
    On the good side soda pop will be cheap to make.

  2. Steve: I did site the fact Wikipedia has credibility issues, but only to illuminate that all sites should be viewed with skepticism. The debt clock site has as its intention to raise the alarm regarding (US, State, and even world wide). Hence, it is inherently biased toward reporting the US is insolvent. Even if 2014 data is old, the US didn’t get more insolvent in the past 7 years and even if it did, it didn’t get to the point where debts exceed assets–your whole point.

    Most fundamentally, you didn’t support your own point! The USA is not insolvent. In a wonkish way, remember that one person’s debt is another person’s asset. Therefore, only the future interest owed, and not the current or past interest paid can render the US insolvent because once again such payments merely become someone else’s assets. As far as recognizing currently, the value of all future interest payments can theoretically be done, but inflation will (it must) offset such values of the timeline of the payments.

    Not that you will understand how US Debt effects will actually evolve, but try googling “debt repudiation through inflation.”

    I’m not saying debt is good or bad, only pointing out that it doesn’t render a country bankrupt. Only the inability to make debt payments ever rendered any debtor bankrupt.

  3. Oh Goldberg, CO2 isn’t toxic or we would already be dead, with out it we would be dead we would, never have existed. Seems like the solar cell and electric car industry are planning to be around for a long time. Personally I’d like to see a wind farm off Martha’s Vineyard and another off the Great Highway. Wouldn’t you agree Mt Goldberg? The power source needs to be close to the consumer.
    But then again the Democrap Party is the Party of Death so what ever Joe Buydung is planning for us, you my well be right. He’s going to get us all killed.

  4. Goldberg,
    You don’t have to repeat everything I wrote this is not a High School English class.
    You are of course right no one on this planet gets out alive. Just which planet are you planning to move to that grants it’s visitors immortality? Will you exterminate that population with Covid Wuhan when you arrived? Do they have free medical for all new emigrants and a Wikipedia that doesn’t tell lies. How about a stock market to make a guy with 2 business degrees rich ? You could sell earthlings as slave labor. That all sucks I know, but you could blame Christopher Columbus for inspiring you.

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