Was Gross Mismanagement by PG&E the Cause of the Camp Fire?

NorCal Residents Who Lost Homes in Camp Fire Sue PG&E for Allegedly Causing Deadly Blaze 

Victims of California’s most destructive wildfire have filed a lawsuit accusing Pacific Gas & Electric Co. of causing the massive blaze. The suit filed Tuesday in state court in California accuses the utility of failing to maintain its infrastructure and properly inspect and manage its power transmission lines. 

The utility’s president said earlier the company doesn’t know what caused the fire, but is cooperating with the investigation by state agencies. An email to PG&E about the lawsuit was not immediately returned. PG&E told state regulators last week that it experienced a problem with a transmission line in the area of the fire just before the blaze erupted.

A landowner near where the blaze began said PG&E notified her the day before the wildfire that crews needed to come onto her property because some wires were sparking. The utility’s president says there was a power outage about 15 minutes before the flames were reported. Landowner Betsy Ann Cowley says Pacific Gas & Electric notified her the day before the blaze that crews needed to come onto her property because the utility’s wires were sparking.

Asked if sparks from a transmission line ignited the fire, PG&E President Geisha Williams told the Chico Enterprise-Record on Tuesday that “it’s too soon to tell.” Williams says the outage was at 6:15 a.m. Thursday and later an aerial patrol spotted damage around the transmission lines. She says the company sent a report to state agencies. She says the sparks are one of several “options” investigators are reviewing.

That is the approximate location of Poe Dam where initial radio transmissions of the fire — which has killed at least 48 people and destroyed more than 7,000 structures — indicate that a damaged transmission line was found by firefighters who discovered the initial fire beneath the high-tension wires. About 48 hours before the fire started, the utility had been warning multiple counties, including Butte, that it would possibly shut down power Thursday morning due to dangerous fire weather conditions. But, in the end, PG&E kept the power on.

“I’ve continuously tried to get in touch with them but nobody is in charge and they suck at communication,” she said of PG&E workers who handle nearby transmission lines. The lines, she said, have been ignored for years, except for herds of goats on the slope chewing away vegetation under the lines.  Read more 

Buying A House Near Power Lines or Electrical Substations

Power Lines Near Homes

If you are buying a home these days you should probably do your due diligence on power lines and electrical substations in your neighborhood.

Is it safe to buy a home with power lines in/near the backyard?  Some people think it is safe and others do not think it is safe due to the electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation these power lines have.  The amount of EMF radiation depends on the amount of power that is traveling through the power lines.  Obviously, larger power lines carry more power and EMF radiation.  Here is a chart that explains the safe distances from larger power lines.


Here is another blog post that explains safe distances from power lines also.

Electrical power lines are usually not hard to find so PowerPlantMaps.com does not map these locations.  However,  substations can be a bit obscure in some neighborhoods inside buildings and behind walls.  Now with Power Plant Maps you can find electrical substations in your neighborhood that might be an issue. 

Search the map for "substation" to find health and safety issues that have been contributed by users. PowerPlantMaps.com also uses satellite images to locate substations and power plants in neighborhoods similar to this image below.   Please also share news articles of problems that we don't currently have on the map.   Here is a video on how to add new power plant, substation or power line issues to our map

Several lawsuits have been won over the years.  Here is a case in Redondo Beach where a woman won $4M from lawsuit with Edison over a substation near hear home.  You can find this health and safety issue and similar issues on PowerPlantMaps.com as well. 


PowerPlantMaps.com is also actively trying to get this oil & gas data used by real estate companies like ZillowRedFinHomeSnap Realtor.com.  We think power plant, power line and electrical substation data should be attributes used by these real estate data companies similar to how Walkscore provides a information about things nearby a home like schools, restaurants and parks. 

Most real estate companies have been very reluctant to share this data with prospective home buyers for obvious reasons. Why would any real estate agent want to give a reason NOT to buy a home? Hopefully, this culture of dishonesty will change in the near future and this data can provide some transparency.

Here is a inexpensive EMF sensor you can buy from Amazon called the Ghost EMF Sensor.  It works really well sensing EMF from even the smallest power lines and electrical products within your home and office.  This product has actually prevented me from buying two homes because it told me the house was too close to active power lines and a substation nearby.  

Map of Hawaii Volcano Lava Near Geothermal Power Plant




Satellite Image of Lava Near Geothermal Power Plant

A river of molten lava from Hawaii's erupting Kilauea volcano could be on course to collide with a geothermal power plant, which provides about 25 percent of electricity on Hawaii’s Big Island. On Tuesday, officials said that efforts to plug the Puna Geothermal Venture's plant's 11 wells were successful, but that no test for what could occur if lava made contact with the wells.

 "The well field at PGV is essentially safe," Hawaii Emergency Management Administrator Thomas Travis said during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, local time, according to NBC affiliate KHNL. "The well field is as safe as we can get the well field. The probability of anything happening if lava enters the well field is very, very low. They should feel pretty comfortable that there should be no untoward events from Puna Geothermal, assuming the lava doesn't change its pattern or flow."

“Fissures near Puna Geothermal Venture are active and producing lava slowly flowing onto the property,” County of Hawaii Civil Defense said in a statement. “This activity has destroyed the former Hawaii Geothermal Project site,” it said, referring to the warehouse.  Read full story

Here is a map of the Big Island Lava Flow & VOG

Update: Blackout not expected in Hawaii even if lava reaches power plant, officials say

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