South­ern Cal­i­for­nia Edi­son plans wild­fire safety mea­sures

Ripon Bulletin - - Local/state -

LOS AN­GE­LES (AP) — A Cal­i­for­nia util­ity plans to re­place 3,400 miles of over­head power lines with in­su­lated wire to re­duce the risk of them spark­ing when hit by tree limbs or other ob­jects, the com­pany an­nounced Mon­day.

South­ern Cal­i­for­nia Edi­son aims to re­place the lines by 2025 to align it­self with leg­is­la­tion that Cal­i­for­nia law­mak­ers have sent to the gover­nor to sign to pre­vent wild­fires.

Spark­ing power lines are one of the lead­ing causes of Cal­i­for­nia’s wild­fires. The wild­fires have killed dozens of peo­ple and de­stroyed thou­sands of homes in re­cent years.

The leg­is­la­tion sparked de­bate be­cause it also will al­low an­other util­ity com­pany — Pa­cific Gas & Elec­tric — to raise elec­tric rates to cover the costs of law­suits from last year’s deadly wild­fires amid fears it could go bank­rupt oth­er­wise.

The bill also re­quires in­vestor-owned util­i­ties to safe­guard their equip­ment to re­duce the risk of fires.

South­ern Cal­i­for­nia Edi­son said the in­su­lated wire in­stal­la­tion is part of a $582 mil­lion plan that would also be paid for in part by a rate in­crease. It in­cludes re­mov­ing trees and brush, in­stalling cam­eras to help emergency crews as­sess a sit­u­a­tion and re­spond quicker and adding weather sta­tions so the util­ity can de­cide the safest way to op­er­ate if the risk of a fire is high.

Fire in­ves­ti­ga­tors have blamed PG&E equip­ment for 12 of last year’s wild­fires in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia’s wine coun­try, in­clud­ing two that killed 15 peo­ple com­bined. Au­thor­i­ties have not de­ter­mined fault for the Tubbs Fire, the most de­struc­tive in state history, which de­stroyed thou­sands of homes in Santa Rosa.

PG&E is fac­ing dozens of law­suits from in­sur­ers, which have spent bil­lions set­tling in­sur­ance claims from home­own­ers.

▶4 IN­JURED AF­TER BUS CRASHES INTO BUILD­ING IN SAN FRAN­CISCO:

SAN FRAN­CISCO (AP) — Of­fi­cials say a bus driver is in crit­i­cal con­di­tion af­ter the bus he was driv­ing crossed a cen­ter di­vider and crashed Mon­day into a tree and build­ing in San Fran­cisco. Three pas­sen­gers had mi­nor in­juries.

San Fran­cisco Po­lice Dept. Lt. Amy Hur­witz says the driver was taken to a hospi­tal with life-threat­en­ing in­juries.

Three pas­sen­gers had mi­nor in­juries when the bus trav­el­ing on Lom­bard Street crashed into a dryclean­ing store.

▶CANA­DIAN MAN SEN­TENCED FOR BILKING US VIC­TIMS OUT OF $18M:

LOS AN­GE­LES (AP) — A Cana­dian con man who bilked at least 60,000 U.S. res­i­dents through a cross-bor­der tele­mar­ket­ing scheme has been sen­tenced to fed­eral prison.

A judge in Los An­ge­les sen­tenced Mark Wilson on Mon­day to more than 11 years be­hind bars.

Pros­e­cu­tors say the Van­cou­ver man tar­geted mainly the el­derly with a scheme that sold them a non-ex­is­tent credit card pro­tec­tion ser­vice. The vic­tims were charged about $300 for phony pro­tec­tion against — iron­i­cally — fraud­u­lent credit card charges.

Au­thor­i­ties say the scam raked in about $18 mil­lion from peo­ple in 37 states.

▶SEN­TENC­ING IN AR­SON FIRE AT LAND­MARK IN JOSHUA TREE PARK:

RIVER­SIDE (AP) — A man has been sen­tenced to five years in prison for set­ting a fire that dam­aged a his­tor­i­cal land­mark in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia’s Joshua Tree Na­tional Park

Fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors say Ge­orge Wil­liam Gra­ham was ob­served watch­ing flames rip through palm trees in March at the Oa­sis of Mara and told park rangers he started the fire. The oa­sis was set­tled by Native Amer­i­cans who planted the 29 palm trees that in­spired the name of the nearby city of Twen­ty­nine Palms.

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