The state’s Public Utilities Commission has launched an investigation into whether PG&E’s maintenance of its power infrastructure in Sonoma and Napa counties may have played a role in the deadly Wine Country fires.
The regulatory agency sent a letter to the utility ordering that it preserve all equipment possibly related to the string of fires, as well as internal communications discussing the disaster. The PUC president announced that his agency would focus on the energy company’s maintenance history.
“We are in contact with PG&E about their response, and we’ll be collecting information about maintenance history and vegetation management in these areas,” President Michael Picker said at the agency’s recent meeting (3 minute mark).
On Thursday, Elizaveta Malashenko, director of the PUC’s safety and enforcement division, sent a letter to PG&E ordering it to “preserve all evidence” regarding the string of devastating fires that have killed dozens of people and destroyed thousands of homes. A Bay Area News Group review of fire dispatch calls from the first 90 minutes of the firestorm indicate a number of downed wires and blown transformers simultaneous to multiple fires igniting. No official cause of the fires has been determined.