I started pushing for Southern California’s regional utility to bury its power lines three years ago, after the fourth utility-caused fire in a decade hit Laguna Beach, where I was mayor.
Our fruitless efforts took us from meetings with Southern California Edison to the state Capitol to a regulator’s doorstep. The utility has pushed back at every turn, citing the high cost of burying power lines even as utility-sparked wildfires have taken scores of lives and caused billions of dollars in damage.
Cal Fire found PG&E’s overhead utility equipment responsible for 17 Northern California fires that burned 190,000 acres in 2017, destroying over 3,200 structures and claiming 22 lives.
Now the Camp Fire, likely sparked by utility lines, has decimated the town of Paradise, taking 13,000 buildings and more than 80 lives.