Acting United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds said in a response to Judge William Alsup on Thursday that Pacific Gas & Electric Co. has met the conditions of probation, as related to its gas operations following the deadly San Bruno explosion.
Hinds was not so kind to the company’s work on its electric infrastructure.
The comments were part of the judge’s request that both PG&E and the independent monitor respond to each other’s November filings.
The company, in its 16-page response, thanked Federal Monitor for their work for feedback and constructive advice. The company also noted that the monitor does not suspect that the company’s leaders are honest in their efforts to rectify the situation.
Before she addressed the company’s electrical infrastructure, Hinds wrote that “the Government notes that with regard to PG&E’s gas operations, it appears that PG&E has made improvements during its probation which for the benefit of public safety.”
In an eight-page filing, Hinds said that PG&E’s report failed to describe in detail where the company believes it is going short, and “special steps to address those shortfalls.” what level of wildfire risk it (if any) it believes is acceptable, how much capital it is capable of or willing to use to support these efforts, Or how it has decided to allocate capital among mitigation strategies.”
The Independent Monitor notes that it “does not appear that at this time there is any dispute between Monitor and PG&E that requires a written opinion from[the United States Attorney’s Office].”
When the company was placed on probation on January 26, 2017, the terms of that probation required the company and the independent monitor to ask for a written opinion from the United States Attorney’s office if they did not agree on the monitor’s recommendations. Can you ,
However, Hinds noted that PG&E is evaluating some of the recommendations made by the monitor and has 30 days under the monitorship order if it does not agree to notify the US Attorney’s Office and the monitor.
It also agreed that the company should emphasize its improvements in reducing the risk of wildfires, however, the Monitor argues that “a similar emphasis should be placed on sharing details about deficiencies and plans for improvement.” Failing that, the public and regulators are deprived of the opportunity to assess whether PG&E is really on the right track (at the right pace) or whether the monitor is right that ‘regulatory changes, or experimentation with new approaches, will produce better results’ can.'”
The company said in its response that improvements to electric operations and its public safety power shut-off program, which the company claims have averted up to 1,450 ignitions and “saved lives”, and its electronic performance support system, which The prompt is based on “stop the fire”.
Hinds points out that while the company has done more work and validation on the vegetation management work streams, there are still trees missing.
The company says it does not rely solely on vegetation management to prevent forest fires caused by vegetation.
The company told the court that “lack of clearing the millions of trees around PG&E’s lines (which PG&E is not allowed to do), PG&E cannot practically mitigate all the risks posed by those trees.” could do, especially using a process that essentially relies on the subjective human being. A judgment applied to millions of trees.”
That’s why they have a multi-line defense, he argued.
From the monitor’s perspective, the public and regulators will benefit if the company conducts a self-assessment on the issues it addresses whether it agrees with the monitor on the error rate, what the company thinks drives the error rate, or whether It believes that it is possible to improve it. error rate.
The monitor also believes that the company’s work streams that reduce wildfire risk are progressing at a slower pace, with the company’s new advanced vegetation management operations in high fire-hazard districts and Involves carrying out remedial work already identified by inspectors and system hardening.
“The speed at which such work streams progress appears to be primarily resource-driven, but PG&E’s report does not analyze its resource constraints in any detail, with a view to more quickly advancing these workstreams.” What is needed for this, and why is it not doing so.
The filing said the information is such that the public would need to decide whether the company should be trusted to continue its business, or whether more legal or political interference is required.
The company responded to federal monitors’ concern that it may consider reducing the frequency of Tier 3 inspections — the most at-risk areas — which the company will not support in the near term.
The Monitor also noted that there is skepticism surrounding the 10,000 miles underground project, noting that “PG&E did not specify a time frame by which it expects to complete 10,000 miles underground, but per year.” Demonstrates intention to harden up to 1,000 miles as part of the program.”
The Monitor noted that PG&E expects to land approximately 66 miles in 2021 and a total of 327 miles by 2021–2023, and that there is substantial skepticism among PG&E field personnel that PG&E’s current technology and strict More than 500 miles per year can be underground. ways.
The company said it understands that skepticism, although it claims it will be more than 650 miles underground by the end of 2023 — half of which is covered and ready for work.