PG&E invests in weather stations, cameras to monitor wildfires amid bankruptcy turmoil
The equipment can cost thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars
California utility Pacific Gas and Electric is spending thousands of dollars or more on weather stations and cameras to monitor wildfire conditions, the company said on Wednesday shortly after reaching a $13.5 billion settlement for wildfire-related claims.
The company added more than 600 weather stations and 130 high-definition cameras and it plans to have 1,300 stations and 600 cameras installed to saturate high-risk areas by 2022.
PG&E HAD SYSTEMIC PROBLEMS WITH POWER LINE MAINTENANCE, CALIFORNIA PROBE FINDS
"The station observations allow our meteorologists to analyze critical fire weather elements like extreme wind, temperature and low humidity," Ashley Helmetag, a PG&E senior meteorologist, said in a statement. "The stations and cameras are a part of our real-time situational awareness tools that assist us as we make decisions on Public Safety Power Shutoffs to protect our communities."
PG&E did not respond to a request for comment from FOX Business.
Both the weather stations and cameras can cost thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.
PG&E's settlement, which the utility says was reached Friday, still requires court approval. PG&E says it is a key step in leading it out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
It adds that the settlement will resolve all claims arising from the 2017 Northern California wildfires, the 2018 Camp Fire, the 2015 Butte Fire and the 2016 Ghost Ship Fire in Oakland.
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However, one of PG&E's main creditors, Elliott Management Corp., is pressuring California Gov. Gavin Newsom to reject the company's restructuring plan, Bloomberg reported this week. They want an alternative plan that would include the same amount of money for wildfire victims.
Elliott Management said in a statement Tuesday that PG&E's plan "benefits only a small group of its current shareholders at the expense of the utility's other key stakeholders."
Elliott Management said PG&E's plan would increase the company's debt by $10 billion to $34 billion compared to its January bankruptcy filing. Elliott Management wants to see total debt limited to a more "moderate level."
Controversy over the utility company also comes after PG&E shut off power for hundreds of thousands of customers this year in order to prevent wildfires. PG&E initiated shutoffs so that any power lines damaged by the winds would not contribute to the spread of wildfires. Such decisions were widely seen as a play to limit liability.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.