It’s no secret that wildfires are becoming increasingly problematic throughout the United States. If the scientific consensus is to be believed, then global warming will only make these fires more dangerous and more frequent. Knowing that, it becomes all the more important that we get a system in place that better prevents man-made wildfires. That change starts with individual companies and according to San Francisco Chronicle, that change may start with Pacific Gas & Electric Co (PG&E).
If you are wondering why an electric company should be the forefront of wildfire safety, we understand, but it actually makes a lot of sense. One of the most common wildfire causes is from faulty electrical lines, electrical lines that PG&E oversees.
Recently, a federal court Judge suggested a wildfire mitigation plan that PG&E thinks is to far reaching. U.S. District Judge William Alsup, proposed ordering the company to inspect and rate the safety of its entire electric grid in the coming months, among other measures intended to greatly lessen the risk that the company’s equipment will ignite a dangerous wildfire.
PG&E responded by saying that while they agree some efforts need to be taken, this suggestion goes too far. According to PG&E statements, the company agrees that “the status quo is unacceptable” and is “committed to working aggressively and expeditiously with state and federal officials on system maintenance and upgrades and on wildfire mitigation efforts.”.
According to PG&E Judge Alsup’s proposal would cost them between $75 billion and $150 billion to implement. A cost, the company argues that is simply to high. Of course, the devil’s advocate counter-argument is that no cost is too high when it comes to stopping natural disasters.
According to a PG&E statement to the judge, “…the path forward to mitigating wildfire risk is best designed not through probation conditions, but rather through careful coordination with state and federal regulators, after appropriate consultation with other interested parties, based on the best science and engineering advice, with policy analysis that accounts for the full range of important but often conflicting social goals,”.
Wildfires are not going anywhere, and the burden to mitigate them cannot fall entirely on the government. New regulations are coming, whether PG&E wins this case or not.