San Francisco

SF Judge Will Sentence PG&E Board to Visit Paradise

A federal judge in San Francisco said Tuesday that he plans to order PG&E Co.'s board of directors to visit Paradise, the Butte County town that was mostly destroyed by the deadly Camp Fire in 2018.

The order by U.S. District Judge William Alsup would be part of the utility's sentence for violating its probation in a criminal pipeline safety case.

Alsup said he also plans to order the board to visit San Bruno, the site of a fatal natural gas explosion in 2010, and to order the board to establish a committee to monitor implementation of PG&E's new wildfire safety plan.

PG&E was placed on five years' probation after being convicted in 2016 of violating pipeline safety regulations and obstructing a probe of the San Bruno explosion.

The probation violation was that it failed to inform its probation officer of a criminal misdemeanor probe and $1.5 million settlement with the Butte County District Attorney's Office in connection with the 150-acre Honey Fire in that county in 2017. No one was injured in that fire, alleged to have been caused by a tree branch falling on a power line.

PG&E said in a statement, "We share the court's focus on safety.... The judge's sentence is a welcome opportunity for our new board to engage fully with Paradise and the city of San Bruno."

Alsup ordered federal prosecutors and PG&E to submit proposed language for the sentence by May 14.

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