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The Latest: Activists object to PG&E reliance on blackouts

February 7, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Latest on PG&E’s proposed wildfire prevention plan (all times local):

6:30 p.m.

A consumer advocacy group says it’s disappointed with Pacific Gas & Electric’s proposed wildfire prevention plan.

The Utility Reform Network says PG&E’s main proposal to shut power during wildfire threats should be an emergency response only rather than a major tenet of the utility’s strategy. Spokeswoman Mindy Spatt says plunging customers into darkness when wildfire danger is high is a risk to public safety. Spatt says PG&E should make improving the safety of its equipment and training of its workers more of a priority than it appears the utility has done.

PG&E filed its plan with the California Public Utilities Commission and a federal judge on Wednesday ___

4:15 p.m.

The nation’s largest utility is promising to overhaul its wildfire-prevention measures in response to growing legal, financial and public pressure over its role in starting some of the most destructive blazes in California history.

In a regulatory filing Wednesday, Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. proposes building new weather stations, fireproofing more miles of electrical wires and shutting off power to more customers more often when wildfire danger is highest.

The embattled utility also vows to increase inspections, cut more trees and work with forestry experts to lessen its role in starting wildfires.

PG&E and other utilities were required to file wildfire prevention plans with the California Public Utilities Commission. The agency has scheduled several public meetings to review the proposals before they are adopted.