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Profits over safety: Utility blamed in fire that killed 85

Profits over safety: Utility blamed in fire that killed 85
Posted at 6:00 PM, Jun 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-16 18:00:16-04

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A scathing grand jury report released Tuesday after a 2018 Northern California wildfire killed 85 people found that Pacific Gas & Electric officials repeatedly ignored warnings about its failing power lines, performed inadequate inspections to focus on profits and refused to learn from past catastrophes.

The 92-page summary says PG&E's corporate culture elevated profits over safety and encouraged shortcuts in delivering highly dangerous power.

Company CEO Bill Johnson pleaded guilty on behalf of the nation's largest utility earlier Tuesday to 84 felony counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Prosecutors say they did not have enough evidence to pin one of the deaths on the San Francisco-based utility.