Wildfires: PG&E will place 10,000 miles of electric lines underground

PG&E unveils underground electric line plan while wildfire linked to utility rages on

Pacific Gas & Electric, the state’s largest power company, said Wednesday that it plans to place 10,000 miles of power lines underground to reduce the possibility of sparking massive wildfires in Northern and Central California — but the utility provided no timeline for the project and limited details of how it would be paid for.

The promise comes three days after the utility admitted that its equipment may have sparked the Dixie Fire burning across at least 85,000-acres in rugged Butte County in the same area where a PG&E transmission line caused the Camp Fire, which killed 85 people and destroyed the town of Paradise in 2018.

PG&E executives estimated that the “starting point” for the project’s total cost is about $15 billion to $20 billion. Utility ratepayers are likely to foot the bill for these massive upgrades: PG&E plans to seek approval from the state Public Utilities Commission for more revenue from customers, executives confirmed, meaning that monthly bills may rise. But the utility also said it would explore new technologies in the hopes of making undergrounding lines both cheaper and faster.

Dawg says: prepare for a large rate increase to pay for this.

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