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U.S. judge finds PG&E violated criminal probation

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – The Latest on a court hearing on a U.S. judge’s proposals to try to prevent Pacific Gas & Electric Co. equipment from causing more wildfires (all times local):

11:30 a.m.

A federal judge in San Francisco has determined that Pacific Gas & Electric Co. violated its probation in a criminal case stemming from a deadly 2010 gas pipeline explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area.

At a hearing Wednesday, U.S. District Judge William Alsup upheld a finding that PG&E failed to notify probation officials that a prosecutor’s office had opened a full investigation into the utility’s role in a 2017 California wildfire.

He said he would set a sentencing date later.

Kate Dyer, an attorney for PG&E, says the company had communicated with probation officials and didn’t hear until recently that it had fallen short.

Alsup is overseeing a criminal conviction against PG&E on pipeline safety charges stemming from a deadly gas line explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2010.

He is considering imposing major new conditions as part of PG&E’s probation to try to prevent the utility’s equipment from causing more wildfires.


 

10:55 a.m.

A U.S. judge is berating Pacific Gas & Electric Co. at a hearing to determine whether he should order the company to take major steps to try to prevent more wildfires.

Judge William Alsup in San Francisco told attorneys for the company Wednesday that safety was not PG&E’s No. 1 priority and the company could have spent more money to trim trees to prevent wildfires.

Alsup is overseeing a criminal conviction against PG&E on pipeline safety charges stemming from a deadly gas line explosion in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2010.

He previously proposed as part of PG&E’s probation that it remove or trim all trees that could fall onto its power lines in high-wind conditions and shut off power at times when fire is a risk.

An attorney for PG&E, Reid Shar, said the company was not offering platitudes when it said safety was its No. 1 goal.

Wildfire damage has become a multibillion-dollar liability for the utility. The company filed for bankruptcy Tuesday in the face of hundreds of lawsuits from victims of wildfires.

Associated Press

Associated Press

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