Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) notified California regulators of a second equipment incident report in the early morning hours of Nov. 8, the day the Camp Fire erupted in Butte County.
As of Monday, 77 people were confirmed dead from the worst-ever and still-ongoing Northern California wildfire, with nearly 1,000 people still reportedly missing.
"At approximately 6:45 a.m. PG&E experienced an outage on the Big Band 1101 12kV Circuit in Butte County," PG&E told the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).
"Cal Fire has collected PG&E equipment on that circuit, and secured a location near PG&E facilities on that circuit,” the San Francisco-based combination utility said in a preliminary report.
PG&E on Sunday said it continued to make progress in restoring power in Butte County, with restoration of 2,500 customers in the Magalia area. About 16,000 electric customers remained without power, and gas service remained off for about 12,000 customers in and around Paradise, which was destroyed in the wildfire.
As of Monday morning, the Camp Fire had consumed 151,000 acres and was 66% contained. Along with confirmed fatalities, 993 people remained missing and 12,794 structures had been destroyed. Full containment was targeted for Nov. 30.
Meanwhile, California's chief regulator late last week told reporters that one of the options on the table for PG&E is to break it up in the wake of withering financial pressures caused by istate's horrific fires in the past two years.
CPUC President Michael Picker made clear that a new phase of an ongoing "safety culture" investigation of the utility would examine corporate governance, structure and operations. He subsequently identified one option to break up the utility.
Picker said CPUC would "determine the best path forward for Northern Californians to receive safe electrical and natural gas service in the future."
Picker also has reiterated that for the state's investor-owned utilities to operate safely they "must have the financial means to function and implement new safety measures.”
Meanwhile, the Woolsey Fire in Southern California also continued to burn, charring more than 96,000 acres with 94% containment. Three fatalities were confirmed, while 1,500 structures destroyed and 341 damaged. Full containment is set for Thanksgiving Day, according to Cal Fire.
Southern California Edison (SCE) last week said the Woolsey fire investigation “includes an area where SCE’s facilities are located and the possible role of its facilities...The area is currently under Cal Fire’s control and SCE has had limited access to that area, primarily to support Cal Fire’s activities. SCE continues to cooperate with the investigations which may take a considerable amount of time to complete.”