CPUC Safety Enforcement Staff Issue Proposal for PG&E Penalties and Disallowances in Settlement Addressing 2019 Kincade Wildfire
The California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) Safety and Enforcement Division (SED) today proposed penalties and permanent disallowances against Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) for violations related to the ignition of the 2019 Kincade wildfire. Under the proposed settlement, PG&E shareholders would pay a $40 million penalty to California’s General Fund and incur an $85 million permanent disallowance for cost recovery for the permanent removal of abandoned transmission facilities within its service territory, for a total of $125 million.
The Kincade wildfire ignited in October 2019 within PG&E’s service territory and burned more than 77,000 acres and destroyed nearly 374 structures. SED’s investigation into the Kincade wildfire and the involvement of PG&E’s infrastructure found multiple violations of General Order 95, a CPUC regulation that sets forth safety factors and strength requirements in the design, construction, and maintenance of overhead electrical lines and communications facilities. The proposed settlement would address the violations through shareholder-funded permanent removal of multiple abandoned transmission facilities within PG&E’s service territory.
The proposed settlement, formally referred to as an Administrative Consent Order, is proposed by CPUC safety enforcement staff for the consideration by CPUC Commissioners. This new enforcement tool was created in November 2020, when the CPUC adopted an Enforcement Policy to better serve Californians through streamlined enforcement actions that can be taken by CPUC enforcement staff in lieu of issuing a Citation or seeking a formal Order Instituting Investigation (OII). The addition of these tools to the CPUC’s enforcement options in 2020 moved the CPUC’s practices more in line with the enforcement practices of many other state and local enforcement agencies.
The Administrative Consent Order was issued today via a Resolution that will be on the CPUC’s December 2, 2021 Voting Meeting agenda for Commissioner consideration. The Resolution and related documents are available at https://www.cpuc.ca.gov/regulatory-services/enforcement-and-citations.
To comment on the Resolution, please send your comments no later than November 22, 2021 to ResolutionCommentsPGE@cpuc.gov.
The CPUC regulates services and utilities, safeguards the environment, and assures Californians’ access to safe and reliable utility infrastructure and services. For more information on the CPUC, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov.