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PG&E says its distribution lines caused no deadly fires in 2019

Credit: REUTERS/ELIJAH NOUVELAGE

California utility PG&E Corp has determined that no lives or structures were lost in 2019 due to wildfires that may have been caused by its distribution lines, according to a Friday court filing.

By Tom Hals

Nov 29 (Reuters) - California utility PG&E Corp PCG.N has determined that no lives or structures were lost in 2019 due to wildfires that may have been caused by its distribution lines, according to a Friday court filing.

The company also said it found 218 instances of damage from wind or falling vegetation that could have caused wildfires if it had not taken the controversial step of shutting power to millions of customers during high winds in late October.

PG&E has been using the mass blackouts to prevent igniting fires at times of high winds and low humidity. Six of the 10 most destructive wildfires in California history have been caused by electrical equipment or power lines.

The company also told a U.S. District Court in San Francisco that a broken PG&E cable reported in the area of Northern California's massive Kincade Fire last month was last inspected on July 19.

Fire officials in California have not determined the cause of the Kincade Fire, which raced through Sonoma County wine country, charring more than 75,000 acres, destroying hundreds of structures and forcing thousands to flee the path of the blaze.

Judge William Alsup ordered PG&E to provide an update on late October fires to determine if the company has complied with terms of its probation imposed after a felony conviction over a 2010 pipeline explosion.

(Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Del. Editing by Matthew Lewis)

((thomas.hals@thomsonreuters.com; +1 610 544 2712; Reuters Messaging: thomas.hals.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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