PG&E Set To Emerge From Criminal Probation
Pacific Gas & Electric has been on federal criminal probation since 2016.
It came after the company was convicted of six felony offenses stemming from an explosion that killed eight people in a San Bruno neighborhood in 2010.
The five-year probation will expire at midnight on Tuesday. It was supposed to be a period for the company to rehabilitate itself.
Instead, the Associated Press reports that US District Judge William Alsup, who has been tasked with the probation oversight, states, “In these five years, PG&E has gone on a crime spree and will emerge from probation as a continuing menace to California.”
PG&E’s equipment has been blamed for several fires over the past five years, most notably the 2018 Camp Fire that leveled the town of Paradise. The company pleaded guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter related to the incident.
The US Attorney’s Office has stated that it will not seek an extension of the five-year probation, indicating it is a unique situation.
The utility has argued that it is taking new steps to improve its infrastructure. For example, PG&E now says it spends $1.4-billion annually to remove hazard trees near equipment, which is up from $400-million spent in 2017.