SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday ordered board members of Pacific Gas & Electric to tour the Northern California town of Paradise, which was leveled by a wildfire that may have been caused by the utility’s equipment.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the judge ordered the tour as part of the utility’s punishment for violating its felony probation terms. PG&E was convicted put on felony probation after one of its natural gas pipes exploded in 2010 killing eight people in the San Francisco suburb of San Bruno.
U.S. District Judge William Alsup says he wants the utility’s newly appointed board to focus the company on complying with new wildfire safety plans approved by regulators. Complying with the plan is the utility’s top probation condition.
Alsup said during a court hearing in San Francisco that PG&E’s top executives need to “see the gravity of what happened up there” and indicated he will likely join the tour too.
“The board of directors ought to see first- hand the devastation” in Butte County, Alsup said.
After the hearing, PG&E’s newly appointed chief executive Bill Johnson told reporters he also planned to tour Paradise.