Today, the Shasta County District Attorney announced that she would be filing criminal charges against PG&E regarding the Zogg fire. IBEW 1245 Business Manager Bob Dean issued the following statement:
“The Zogg fire was a terrible tragedy, and our thoughts are with the families and communities that are still reeling from the devastation. But the Shasta County DA’s politically-motivated and baseless criminal charges would bring no closure to the fire victims, simply because they have no basis in fact.
“There’s no question that utility work is incredibly demanding, challenging and potentially dangerous, with little room for error. Every day, as part of their normal course of operation, the employees that work for and with PG&E must make thousands of judgment calls, and each call is made with the best interest of customers and communities in mind. Nothing about these decisions could or should be construed as criminal.
“When every single decision is potentially up for legal scrutiny, this creates the potential for ‘decision gridlock,’ causing important work to slow down or stop altogether. We may also see a large-scale loss of personnel if work performance becomes associated with criminal liability. There are tens of thousands of men and women working at and with PG&E to make California safer, but we need to continue to grow our workforce in order to perform all of the critical grid maintenance, upgrades, fire-hardening and undergrounding. We cannot afford to establish a precedent that would dissuade individuals from pursuing this work or continuing to work in the utility field.
“During these exceptionally difficult times, our essential utility employees are doing the very best they can for the communities where they live and work, and these overreaching criminal charges are an unjust distraction for a workforce that’s already under incredible pressure. We will continue to hold fast to our position that no criminal act occurred, and we intend to push back against the Shasta County DA’s unfounded and unsubstantiated charges.”