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Aftermath: Now they tell me…

PG&E Had Systemic Problems With Power Line Maintenance, California Probe Finds – WSJ “The identified shortcomings in PG&E’s inspection and maintenance of the incident tower were not isolated, but rather indicative of an overall pattern of inadequate inspection and maintenance of PG&E’s transmission facilities,” the report by the commission’s safety and enforcement division found.

Investigators also found that PG&E crews hadn’t climbed the tower that malfunctioned and sparked the Camp Fire since at least 2001, a violation of company policy requiring such inspections on towers that have recurring problems.

They concluded that a climbing inspection of the tower during that time “could have identified the worn C-hook before it failed, and that its timely replacement could have prevented ignition of the Camp Fire.”…

After the Camp Fire, investigators determined that a “C-hook” that held a heavy length of energized wire on the Caribou-Palermo line had failed. Another hook on a nearby tower had suffered significant material loss, the latest probe found, as years of weather and friction wore down the metal.

Investigators also noted that until September 2018, PG&E’s inspection form didn’t include any place to note the results of inspected hardware such as C-hooks.

“This raises the question of whether inspectors were evaluating cold-end hardware even when they performed climbing inspections,” the probe said.

My Paradise home last month one year after the fire.
First I was burned to the ground and now I’ve been erased.

{ 27 comments… add one }
  • John Venlet December 3, 2019, 9:17 AM

    The questions, are, can you rebuild, and if you can, will you?

  • Sven December 3, 2019, 10:39 AM

    Rebuild. The time will pass regardless; build something that makes you happy.

  • Vanderleun December 3, 2019, 10:59 AM

    Nope. I won’t be doing anything like that. In fact, after attending two memorial concerts in Paradise in the last month I’ve determined to never go to the town again.

    It wasn’t just this house that was destroyed but the other two houses I lived in as a child.

  • Phil Fraering December 3, 2019, 11:12 AM

    I think PG&E has been suffering from active state Dismanagement (for lack of a better word) for a while now, because when they finally drive them out of business one way or another they get to control the power company (or its remains) completely forever. Big Corporations with government entanglements have become the “Trusted Third Party Security Holes” of Capitalism.

  • DrTedNelson December 3, 2019, 11:29 AM

    There should at least be a historical marker there.

  • James ONeil December 3, 2019, 11:49 AM

    “Nope. I won’t be doing anything like that. In fact, after attending two memorial concerts in Paradise in the last month I’ve determined to never go to the town again.”

    Might be a good time to consider getting out of The People’s Republic of California altogether Gerard.

  • Vanderleun December 3, 2019, 12:23 PM

    I am. But I just don’t have another move in me right now.

  • Gordon Scott December 3, 2019, 2:33 PM

    Gerard,
    I read recently that only 19 homes have been rebuilt. Is this so?

  • Terry December 3, 2019, 2:45 PM

    Yep. Get the heck out of that communist hell hole state. The sooner, the better in my view. My wife and I escaped back in 1995.

    This should make it more clear as to part of the problem in Kali:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLkF6zLxg_U

  • Sid V December 3, 2019, 2:47 PM

    As bad as your situation is Gerard, you could be living in New Jersey like me. At least California has the climate and physical beauty to temper all the liberal insanity.

  • Uncle Mikey December 3, 2019, 2:57 PM

    Collectivism. Not even once

  • Saul December 3, 2019, 3:00 PM

    Sounds like the report supports cutting off power in high wind dry conditions.

  • John the River December 3, 2019, 4:14 PM

    I can well understand your feelings on the matter and I respect them. In my case I performed a cold calculation of the benefits and best return of the binary decision; to either take the insurance settlement for the loss and sell the property, or rebuild with insurance and savings.

    Rebuilding maximized the insurance payout; code upgrade coverage, inflation protection, alternate housing for the first year. An easy hundred g’s right there.
    On the other hand, after spending 250K and a year in; I was sleeping on an air mattress in my mothers basement.
    I know one thing for sure. Next time I’m taking the check, moving to Florida and buying a boat I’ll live on. “Travis McGee!”

  • theduchessofkitty December 3, 2019, 5:19 PM

    Think about coming here to Texas. You’ll find a nice house here for much less.

    And you can warn us here about what those Leftist Californians intend for the Lone Star State. I can sense a rebellion brewing in Idaho. It shouldn’t be the only state to sound the alarm.

  • downeasthillbilly December 3, 2019, 5:32 PM

    Grist for the mill . . .
    A move doesn’t necessarily involve the relocation of STUFF. I am planning a relocation to Appalachia, just me and those artifacts that are Needful. Travel light. Most of what you need is already in your head. Thoreau without the philosophical schtick. YMMV.

  • talgus December 3, 2019, 5:39 PM

    It appears, it was far more important to develop new “green” energy than to maintain old delivery equipment.

  • Rick Lakehomer December 3, 2019, 9:56 PM

    A failed ‘C’ hook. How much did that part cost? Not very much I bet. PG&E was a failed company long ago. IF you do move perchance, DO NOT move to POOREGON. I loathe the state and even on the east side where I am there are too many commies and socialists. I hate Bend, it is a baby Portland full of snobby people. I live in one of the poorest towns in the state, yet I am rich beyond measure and not in money, in that I am poor and I am OK with this at 67. Like you, I have not another move in me left. If I did I would move to LAS Vegas, New Mexico or Texas, where I am from.

  • ghostsniper December 4, 2019, 6:50 AM

    Yeah, take the money and run. To a less hostile area. Do the research and consider what the future holds for perspective areas. Get a small house, just a little more than you need, either exiting or new. Get a solar array and learn it. Get a well system and learn it. Get a septic system and learn it. Learn to be less reliant on they who will stick it in your ass.

    If you build new, use as much concrete as possible for the envelope, it is permanent and pretty much damage proof. Price wise, overall, concrete is no more expensive than sticks. Have as few penetrations as possible through the exterior walls. Have a metal roof. Might cost a little more but you get a lot more, and it’s very fire resistant. Metal roofs have very few call backs or failures, and are warranted for 40 or more years – just in case you live as long as your mother. Have a real world security system in place. I’m not talking about LSD (silly little dood-dads) on the windows and doors that will break your heart by showing you in real time the criminals having their way with your stuff. I’m talking about hardened exterior wall penetrations. Steel door and window frames tapconned into the solid concrete walls. Top and bottom deadbolt extensions. Single pivot points on windows, etc. Have any and all municipal utilities installed underground and enter the home under the slab. If in a fire area, install high pressure sprinklers on the roof peaks to keep the metal wet and cool. Make sure any outside utilities, air condensing units, water softeners, pumps, etc., are well under the roof for protection from the weather and thieves – consider having a “mechanical room” for these things. Install low profile high lumen LED spots at all eave corners, switched to 2 different locations in the house, so that you can light up Venus if necessary. Just a couple ideas off the top O’ my skall. Many more available upon request.

  • Boat Guy December 4, 2019, 7:02 AM

    I wish you well, sir. I can understand feeling like you haven’t another move in you, though action frequently counters angst. I wish I could recommend the state I live in ( God knows we’d benefit from and welcome your presence) but coming into a “socialism-lite” purple state is likely more than you need.
    For once ghost has some good recomendations. Nice to see.
    Do please act. Travel light and find your new home. Once you start I hope you’ll find it exciting and energizing.

    nows

  • Bram December 4, 2019, 7:44 AM

    I worked for an electric utility for a few years. In return for a monopoly on power distribution, smart states (through their utility boards) keep their utilities healthy while making sure they are serving customers fairly and efficiently. California dropped all that nonsense long ago. The state has forced PG&E and SC Edison to close all their nuclear plants which entails massive decommissioning costs. Of course there is no money left for maintenance – it’s all being spent on fairy-tale green energy except the one green energy source that actually works.

  • Saul December 4, 2019, 9:39 AM

    Understand one important thing about California’s cyclical fires. It is primarily a problem because of the cyclical relentless and powerful winds NOT the electric utility or it’s maintenance. Secondly California’s wet (in the valley) winters and hot dry summers create an abundance of dry shrubbery everywhere. This combination is the problem. If California today eliminated all electricity they would still have the same number of fires in the fall. Most of them are the result of arson and many are the result of carelessness. The only reason that PG&E is being attacked on this is that the lawyers smell money. They can’t get money from an arsonist or some poor schlub who starts a fire accidently but PG&E was a godsend to the ambulance chasers.

    Perhaps though, it is the right thing to do to shut down all power for days/weeks at a time when the winds blow. Perhaps California should just accept this as part of the cost of living in a place where the wind is so ferocious. But none of that matters because once the trial lawyers decided to bankrupt the power company that train left the station and isn’t coming back. The future for California is to have only government power companies (because the government has sovereign immunity) thus the lawyers will have to look elsewhere for their ill gotten gains. This is not by accident. The government gave the lawyers the power of class action law suits and this is what you get.

  • Julie December 4, 2019, 1:08 PM

    Having been through both a house fire (almost thirty years, but these things stick with you) and multiple moves, including one last year that washed me up in SoCal, I understand about not having another move in you. Plus for my family, this is where the Lord would have us be, here and now. We’re in the right place.

    I don’t know about the future of this state, but it seems like fleeing elsewhere might not be so much a way to escape the rot as to try to outrun it. Like trying to outrun a storm that is moving just a little faster than you are, all you do is prolong the misery. Once it passes, there is still work to be done, and a remnant needed to do it. Here and everywhere else.

    Whatever your future holds, Gerard, thanks as always for sharing a part of it with us.

  • Gordon Scott December 4, 2019, 7:36 PM

    Ghostsniper,
    More, please. I am still planning the final move to eastern Tennessee/western North Carolina. I want to build that house that will ride out the days when the EBT cards stop working.

  • ghostsniper December 5, 2019, 7:38 AM

    Gordon, think “courtyard”.
    In addition to what I wrote above, build the house as a courtyard type.
    In floorplan view, the home would be U shaped, with the U being a squared off version – curved walls are expensive. The building code requires all sleeping rooms to have egress windows of a certain size. Windows are weak points in the envelope. The home can be built courtyard style and all sleeping rooms will have egress windows or doors that spill out into the courtyard rather than to the perimeter walls. Landscaping and other design tactics can be employed to address the notion of “plainness” in the outside walls.

    The courtyard itself must be large enough to accomodate a standard in ground swimming pool so that adequate water for all of lifes endeavors is always available. In our Florida house there were 2 high pressure sprinklers on the roof that were fed from our 24,000 gallon pool. When hurricane Charlie came to town in 2004 our pool was a life saver in several ways. As long as it is controlled there is no such thing as too much water.

    The courtyard style of home means the only way a ne’er do well can gain entrance to the interior is from the rear and if the property has an 8′ estate fence as ours did so most criminals will move on to easier prey. The courtyard style forces criminals to attack on your terms, not theirs. Further, the rear area of the U can be fortified without violating the building code, with a variety of fencing or gating methods.

    An interior mechanical room is how most large scale commercial buildings are designed. All of the mechanics that run the home, plumbing, electrical, ventilation, security, etc., are located in the mechanical room. By keeping everything close maintenance is much easier and less expensive. Keeping all that equipment inside protects it from the elements and criminals. Undergound utilities prevent criminals from “cutting the wire”.

    Having an “airlock” on the primary home entrance gives the occupants a second chance by stalling perps from entering. 2 front doors, one inside of the other. The criminal must violate one set of locks, walk a few feet into the house, then violate a 2nd set of locks (all keyed the same). The airlock has video cameras and proximity sensors. A smart person can have it set up to where an intruder that makes it past the first door is then trapped between it and the 2nd door until such time that law enforcement shows up. Or, left to starve to death. Don’t forget to upload all video to your own personal cloud for later uploading to Youtube, etc.

    That’s a few more general things to chew on and as usual and as always the precise building site and other information is required to make the dream become crystal clear. Oh yeah, real steep metal roofs are impossible to climb by novices and solar arrays should be surrounded by thorny poison ivy and spanish bayonets – look em up. I’m not a fan of roof mounted solar because maintenance is murder and snow accumulation renders them inoperative – and the less roof penetrations the better.

  • Nobody Atall December 5, 2019, 9:13 AM

    My sincerest sympathies, Gerard. Your (nearly) entire family history wiped out in one blazing swoosh.

    My family history has been erased one home/family at a time. It’s painful to contemplate. Those people had full lives, raised families, ran farms and businesses, toiled cheerfully at skilled trades … and what’s left is … farmhouses left to rot away in the wind, land grant acreage sold off to the highest bidder (some with family connections, some not), factories rusting in the rain … nothing remains but their downstream descendants. And fewer of those than of the ancestors. Oblivion awaits.

    As I get older and ponder more frequently, God draws closer. He’s all i got now.

  • Gordon Scott December 5, 2019, 11:51 AM

    Ghost,
    I had thought of two 10,000 gallon underground tanks for water, with a battery backup power system for the pumps. I like the courtyard design; I had not thought of the advantages of no windows on the outside.

    I have thought of the possible advantages of some sort of cupola as a shooting position.

    I guess the point is that there’s no way I’m going to resist a professional assault. But I can arrange to be able to resist amateurs.

  • ghostsniper December 5, 2019, 1:19 PM

    The best fight is the one that doesn’t include YOU. Thus, the Remus rule: “Avoid Crowds”, to which I say, anything closer than 1/2 a mile is close. Too close. For security purposes, start your thinking at your property lines and work backward. A cupola, which I like for ventilation purposes, can become a target. Unless it is heavily fortified you could die in it.

    Another idea, though more expensive, is a full concrete ceiling/roof, consisting of precast pre-stressed concrete panels, like what is used on bridges and high rise buildings. Never forget what “that woman” once said, “When you leash a dog you leash yourself.”, and the same is true with your house. Are you trying to keep them out or are they trying to keep you in? The point is, first, establish a place as far away from potential conflict as possible. My wife and I have been scouting out exactly that and the results thus far are dismal and disappointing. Everything worth looking at is either too expensive or too remote. Her and I are becoming elderly people and not spring chickens full of piss and vinegar any more. The farther ahead you see, the better you can plan, with contingencies. If money was no object I’d relocate to the horn in Argentina and start a sheep farm. BTW, underground tanks will float in a flood. I’ve seen septic tanks pop up out of the ground after a tidal surge.

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