PG&E disclosed new information that could potentially pin them to the cause of last month’s deadliest wildfire in California that killed more than 80 people and destroyed 18,800 buildings.
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In a regulatory filing with state regulators on Tuesday, the utility giant revealed that a large power line was damaged and stopped working shortly before the fire began.
It cited “wear at the connection point” and said its power line and insulator appeared to have separated from one of the metal towers that held it together. The news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
While the investigation into what caused the wildfire is still pending, the revelation further speculates rumors that PG&E is to blame.
Moreover, the news of the faulty power line comes on top of a previous disclosure to regulators that its 11,500-volt line suddenly lost power in the early morning hours of Nov. 8, minutes before the start of the Camp Fire was reported. Additionally, it disclosed that a second, smaller power line also experienced an outage around the same time that morning.
A spokesperson for PG&E did not immediately respond to FOX Business request for additional information beyond the filing. The state’s investigation, however, it expected to take several months to determine the exact cause of the fire.
As reported by FOX Business, if PG&E is held liable, it will not have enough insurance to cover its liabilities. In early November, in an SEC filing, it revealed it had renewed its liability insurance coverage for wildfire events in its most recent quarter to $1.4 billion, but that number is a far cry from the early fire damage estimates from Citigroup, which put the damages at more than $15 billion, so far.
While PG&E shares have taken a beating since the start of fire, down about 45 percent, news that potential legislation is being drafted by state lawmakers that could help the company absorb some of its costs boosted shares and restored investor confidence.
PG&E is also facing liabilities from wildfires in California from 2017 that destroyed more than 240,000 acres. According to a regulatory filing from earlier this month, state investigators have linked PG&E’s equipment to about 17 fires.