Home California Frazier Bill Aims to Reduce Forest Fires by Requiring Electric Companies to Move Equipment

Frazier Bill Aims to Reduce Forest Fires by Requiring Electric Companies to Move Equipment

by ECT

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Discovery Bay) has introduced a bill to require the state’s electric utility companies to move their equipment and transmission lines out of forests, and other regions where the potential for fire is high, or bury or fireproof it, to prevent the ignition of devastating and deadly wildfires.

“Like all Californians I am horrified that our state has become increasingly powerless against wildfires indiscriminately destroying communities and taking lives every fire season,” Frazier said. “Climate change has made us more vulnerable and California’s major utility companies have failed to keep up with this new reality. Their equipment has ignited thousands of wildfires in recent years and many of these blew up into destructive and deadly infernos. The environmental damage caused by these fires is appalling. Forests are scarred for decades. The loss of life due to an inattentive safety net is unconscionable. We need common-sense solutions now. Requiring utility companies to take responsibility for their equipment in order to safeguard California is reasonable and just.”

AB 281 would require utilities to relocate their transmission lines out of forests and other areas where the potential for fire is high. If relocation is not possible, they would be required to bury the lines. If it’s not possible to relocate or bury the lines, they would be required to improve the equipment to “prevent, and minimize the risk” of the equipment igniting fires.

A recent Los Angeles Times investigation found that equipment owned by California’s three largest utility companies started more than 2,000 wildfires in a 3-1/2 year period ending in 2017. The report found the state lacks the resources to monitor whether utility companies are properly maintaining their transmission line right-of-ways to protect against vegetation coming into contact with their equipment and sparking fires.

“The current system, with the state relying on the utility companies to police themselves, is not working,” Frazier added. “There is no bigger issue facing our state than this right now, and we cannot wait to take action any longer. The way of doing business with these utilities needs to change by recognizing what’s been done in the past doesn’t work anymore.”


Assemblymember Frazier represents the 11th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Antioch, Bethel Island, Birds Landing, Brentwood, Byron, Collinsville, Discovery Bay, Fairfield, Isleton, Knightsen, Locke, Oakley, Pittsburg (partial), Rio Vista, Suisun City, Travis AFB, Vacaville and Walnut Grove.

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Jimmy & Donnie. Jan 29, 2019 - 4:25 pm

??????? jimmy, your idea is just a stupid as trumps raking the forests. Wow, both of you need to take a hike.

Tom Jan 30, 2019 - 8:46 am

Jimmy & Donnie, “raking” the forests actually does help. If you take the dead wood out and build fire barriers, that would make it much easier to extinguish fires. If you let the private sector harvest those specific woods, then that would all come for free.

Not Mara lago Jan 30, 2019 - 3:54 pm

Tom, of course, let’s rake 30 million acres of forest. Maybe when we dig jimmys underground power trenches we can use them to dispose of the raked material. Of course,clean is better, but let’s be realistic. Donnie and jimmy must want the California forest to look like “Mara logo” F them both!!!

Highwayman Jan 29, 2019 - 5:59 pm

Gee, what’s that gonna cost? And what about the tweaker using his welder or grinder setting off the next Lake County blaze. You might as well legislate PG&E outta norcal….who will provide our power?

Kevin Blunt Jan 29, 2019 - 7:57 pm

This guy is a real piece of work, introduce this kind of bill on the day PG&E files for bankruptcy. Jim is all about Jim. Someone good please run against him in 2020! Does Jim even know how much this is going to cost rate payers? Probably not and only looking for a news headline.

VINCE AUGUSTA Jan 31, 2019 - 9:10 am

OMG …. Lookie here, all the PG&E Defenders. Poor poor poor poor PG&E always getting picked on. Perhaps if they didn’t give their executives HUGE pay increases, stopped producing their “warm, fuzzy blankie feel good” commercials and did what they are supposed to do, like maintaining their equipment, we would not be in this predicament. Oh poor poor poor poor PG&E. I have solar, so in effect I guess I am not “helping” poor poor poor PG&E.

Mike O’Brien Jan 31, 2019 - 3:48 pm

So let me get this straight. There is about 81,000 miles of overhead distribution lines in CA not counting all the smaller supply lines. So 81,000 X $3,000,000 per mile = $243 billion. This cost is before you fight the environmentalists, buy property rights, equipment to install it, and the permits to build it. Like any other job these little concerns will double or triple the costs. So some where in the neighbor hood of $ 750 billion should do it. Compared to the measly $77 billion the super train to know where costs. Should be no problem.

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