In response to the June 8, 2018 press release from CalFire, Local 1245 Business Manager Tom Dalzell issued the following statement:
Friday’s report from CalFire gives almost no specifics, other than the conclusion that PG&E was responsible for 8 of the 12 fires in this group of fires. Because the cases have been referred to the local district attorneys for review, the underlying reports have not been released.
CalFire has now released its conclusions with respect to 16 of the 170 fires. It has not released its report on the Tubbs Fire, which was the most destructive wildfire in California history.
The CalFire reports are not unexpected. The company has assumed the worst-case scenario in its planning.
All that said, the CalFire reports are placing significant financial stress on PG&E, which is quickly rising to the level of an existential threat.
Each new piece of bad news accentuates the need for rational reform of California wildfire liability laws. No utility can operate in a state where a single branch on a single tree can create tens of billions of dollars of liability for the utility.
Each new piece of bad news also accentuates the need for regulatory reform. Past efforts before the Public Utilities Commission to make PG&E’s infrastructure more robust have been opposed by certain parties who are more concerned about their bill than they are with wildfire safety.
Our primary responsibility here is the long-term job security of Local 1245 members. Labor stability in a time of crisis like this is our highest priority, and is the best course of action for our members.
Local 1245 is extremely active on both the legislative and regulatory fronts. We remain confident that by the end of this legislative session and the PUC’s Green Book proceedings we will have a much better framework for utilities in an era where extreme whether is the new normal.
We are hoping for the best while preparing for the worst.
Please reach out to me with any questions.