While of course the COVID-19 pandemic dominates the news and our time, it’s important not to let energy system information that affects our schools, colleges, and other constituents get lost in the news cycle. Here is one new item we wanted to call to your attention: PG&E to Plead Guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter Charges in Deadly California Wildfire.
Paradise Post reports that PG&E will plead guilty to 85 felony counts (!!!) in a Butte County Grand Jury indictment. These include 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of unlawfully causing a fire which includes three special allegations for PG&E’s causing great bodily injury to a firefighter; causing great bodily injury to more than one surviving victim, and causing about 18,804 structures to burn.
As reported in the Wall Street Journal, “Criminal charges against a corporation are rare, and manslaughter charges are especially rare,” said Will Thomas, a business law professor at the University of Michigan. “It’s an indication of just how bad some of PG&E’s activities have been.”
It is shameful that PG&E, a twice-bankrupt, multiple felons, with a long history of misleading regulators and mistreating the public is still permitted to operate as a service provided to millions of gas and power users.
PG&E customers should act on their own, to take every opportunity to choose alternatives to PG&E service whenever available, whether through SPURR, your local Community Choice Aggregation, self-generation, or other resources. This is not to say that everyone working for PG&E has the same low character as the company overall. But how else can we make a strong statement about PG&E, other than by withholding business from them when we can?