ln this week’s podcast we discuss a story that seems to have flown under the radar due to the shelter in place news, and that is PG & E Pleads Guilty to 84 Counts of Manslaughter for the Camp Fire in 2018. The magnitude of this story is overwhelming, especially when above ground powerlines are everywhere, and there are countless examples of trees intertwined with the powerlines.


About Jamie Duran &
Solar Harmonics
Brought to you by Solar Harmonics in Northern California,  who invite their customers to “Own Their Energy” by purchasing a solar panel system or their home, business, or farm.  You can check out the website for the best solar energy equipment installer, Solar Harmonics, here.   Each episode we discuss questions facing people making the decision to go solar. The solutions to your questions are given to you –  straight  – by one of the leading experts in the solar industry, Jamie  Duran,  president of Solar Harmonics.   Feel free to search our library for answers to questions that you’re facing when considering solar.

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Magnified Media
Solar Cast is produced by Adam Duran, director of Magnified Media. Based in Walnut Creek, California, Magnified Media is an internet marketing firm focused on getting Google local Maps placement, digital marketing, website design, local search ranking and reputation management for businesses of all sizes. Check out their podcast, Local SEO in 10 here!
Magnified Media helping business owners master their marketing by:
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– creating engaging social media content.
In his spare time, Adam enjoys working as the volunteer director of the Delta Education Foundation and practicing Jiu-Jitsu.

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PG & E Pleads Guilty [Transcript]

Listen to the Episode Here

Adam (00:00):
Hello Jamie. Hello Adam. How’s everything going with you today?

Jamie (00:05):
Yeah, but you know, it’s a crazy week. Every week. I say that this week, certainly crazy. But man, there’s just a, it’s something new every day.

Adam (00:16):
How’s the construction going? Everything’s finished.

Jamie (00:20):
Oh my. Yeah. My home office is 99% finished! Some covers need to be placed, but boy do I love having a wall and a door, especially during the shelter in place. It’s been a, it’s been a godsend. It’s been fantastic. So you need a light above the door that says on air maybe, or I could just shut the door and then nobody cares. Yeah, well no, they can. So yeah, it’s been a, it’s been, I, it makes me feel like I, how did I live without it for so long? But man, it’s been awesome. Level walls is a necessity. I like the Oh yeah, yeah, definitely. Yup. Shelter in place time. Wow. Yeah. Yeah. So we’re a, but I’m in Contra Costa County. A solar is classified as an essential service. So we actually just finished a project today and doing the final inspection today and should go great. And they’ll get their PGNE approval in the next week or so and, and we got plenty more coming. So it’s it’s interesting. Definitely interesting.

Adam (01:26):
So you’re located in Contra Costa County and I guess that’s where Brentwood is also. So what about other parts of California? Do you know if there, if it’s an essential service there?

Jamie (01:37):
No. So it’s in say in Alameda County, which is just, you know, a couple of miles away from Contra Costa County. Yeah. It’s the next County over. It is not considered an essential service, so, Oh boy. And the permit offices are closed and you can’t do a final inspection. But yeah, we’re, we’re plowing through, our distributors are, are open and they’re sending products. So we are, we’re still in business sand I see nothing but solar trucks and landscaping trucks and, and, and construction trucks all over the place. So in trades, it seems like full steam ahead. We have had a couple customers want to hold off. And that’s fine. But we did let them know that when things get back to normal, if they get back to normal expect big delays in the permit offices cause they are not there right now for some reason.

Adam (02:31):
No, that’s true. I mean instead of their normal two foot tall stack, they’re going to have a 10 foot tall stack.

Jamie (02:40):
Exactly. Yeah. It’s going to be a we’re probably saying, you know, 30 to 40 days for them to approve a permit. But that’s a lot of the city offices though, they, they employees are working from home. And that’s, that’s very nice. And I think that could be one really good thing about you know, this a shelter in place is that many, you know, this state, federal, County, city governments, all required their people to show up every single day no matter what. And that contributed so much to traffic. And so this, it could be a huge, a windfall, you know, is that maybe they don’t need to come in. Maybe they can do their work from home. And maybe they can accept a permit online. You know, right now when we do a permit, we have to physically walk it into the permit office and they, we have to physically pay for it and physically get a receipt for it.

Jamie (03:34):
It’s just like, it was in the 70s. And so and they want to copy hard copies in the, you know, large format and all of that is just so wasteful. And so but right now, like city of Oakland is working really, really hard to be able to accept permits online because they know that they’re holding up business that is allowed. So let’s get it together. City people, they don’t have scanners. I mean, it’s on our phone. They just point back and say that’s what the code says. The code says it has to be a two copies, a 11 by 17 or you know what, 20 by 20 full crazy. Yeah. Not eight and a half by 11. Yeah, exactly. And no electronic copies. And you can’t pay online. You get. And so it’s just, it is so antiquated and but that’s, you know, those, those are the, the you know, parameters.

Jamie (04:38):
We’ve been instructed to work with them. So we are, but now it’s possible that change. Maybe that’ll change. So that could happen. But yes. But I really wanted to talk about a story that is not getting much. I haven’t heard anything about this at all. And that is a PGNE to plead guilty to 85 counts of manslaughter. Oh boy. In the 2018 campfire. So I don’t even know what, I wish we had a legal expert that could translate this. But it says in the article from CNN that PG and E has agreed to plead guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter. One count of on lawfully starting the campfire according to court documents filed on Monday, which was Monday, March 23rd. So, wow. What do you think would happen if you pled guilty to 84 counseling theory, manslaughter? I’d moved to Thailand under an assumed name and, and you got convicted punishment, unlawfully starting a campfire that the campfire.

Jamie (05:49):
So the one that’s up in paradise, that just is horrific. If you want to see the most horrific fire videos, definitely just typing campfire is unbelievable. And you got, you pled guilty to essentially arson and burning down a city a paradise. I don’t know what they could do to you. You only have one life. So I did not hear anything about this in the news and I just thought, Holy mackerel. So you know, I don’t know if PG and E is saying it’s not, it’s all our fault or, but I mean, pleading guilty, that’s, that is a, that’s a big one. I don’t know. I don’t, I don’t know what the ramifications are going to be, but that is that is crazy to me.

Adam (06:35):
I would imagine no one from PG&E is going to jail.

Jamie (06:39):
I don’t know. I, you know, I’m going to continue to follow this story to see what’s happening. But man, Oh man, I, I just don’t know why this is not the biggest story in the history of the universe at a, a, a major company has agreed, has pled guilty to killing not on purpose 84 people and that is a lot of people. So not to mention burning down the entire town. So you know, as we’ve talked before, we see power lines intwined with with, you know, all kinds of trees and, and branches and fuel essentially. And so I just don’t see that anything is really changing to you know, to fix this kind of a very serious issue.

Adam (07:26):
Well, with the shelter in place, I have not taken a a long drive in a while, but the last time I did, yeah, I definitely saw the trees that are, I don’t even know how you would cut the trees or trim them back cause it seems like they wrap around some of the power lines. I mean, it, it’s impressive. And I don’t know how, it’s not a fire hazard. I, I, I’m, I’m, I guess they’re protected by some rubber sheath and that’s supposed to stop them from lighting them on fire. But I don’t know.

Jamie (08:00):
I dunno either. But I would just, you know, it’s, it, to me, it’s, it’s infuriating that that essentially, you know, they’re, they’re going to be able to, you know, pay the fine. You know, it says that they’re going to reimburse Butte County district attorney’s office for 500,000 and they’re sentenced to a maximum fine of no more than three, 3 million, $486,950. So that’s a person, no person. Nope. Total. That’s why they pled guilty. I guess so. But Holy moly, that is a [inaudible]. I have no words for this.

Adam (08:40):
I wonder, I cannot imagine the, a civil suit is not going to follow this.

Jamie (08:45):
Yeah, yeah. But they, they’ve already filed for bankruptcy at the government. Governor’s already accepted. So moving on, moving on. But I’m just, is there, is there just from, you know, our limited amount of driving around, I’m just not seeing much, much is being done to prevent another one is the thing. So I know that they have some tree trimming going on and things like that, but I just don’t, I don’t see how it’s enough, so I’m hoping fingers are crossed, like everybody that there’s not another massive fire, but

Adam (09:18):
Yeah, yup. Let’s just start on a, basically maybe an eight mile stretch. You, we counted over a hundred, so I mean that on an eight mile single stretch of road and not, not just hanging or near, but like I said, wrapping around

Jamie (09:37):
The trees. [inaudible] It’s, wow. It is. And so if I repeat, I, I don’t, I would just tear down those you know, those trees immediately and put some, you know, stump preventer so it cannot grow back. But yeah, I mean, this is, you know, the painting, the golden gate bridge thing is as soon as they turn back, there’s a more, more to be done at the front of the line. So yeah, it’s a N so I don’t know how they do all of the stuff that they’re supposed to be doing. But podcasts, yes. Jamie on the, on the horn. I would love to, actually, one of my solar customers said that he is friends with two of the board members. So it’s a possibility I could get a couple of PGNE yeah, that’s a tooth board members and cause he’s really upset about how the when a inverter goes out or I’m sorry, when the power goes out that solar is automatically shut down. And the only way people can have power is if there’s a battery. So he thinks that’s ridiculous. I think it’s silly to, and so he’s contacting his friends at PGNE to see about getting that fixed. Yeah.

Adam (10:55):
I’m sorry, I was just picturing myself doing the same thing, but just yelling up [inaudible]

Jamie (10:59):
This guy. I declare. Yep. So that’s, yeah, certainly, certainly not the most happy subject, but I just wanted to, you know, in our limited amount of reach make sure that this story just does not go away or, or you know, the people are aware that this company a major, you know, stock traded the company, New York stock utility, just please admitted to not on purpose killing 84 people. So that’s pretty crazy. That’s it. And horrifically sad. Oh, it’s going to take a decade for anyone to recover from this. So

Adam (11:41):
Next it’s going to happen. I mean, we’re going to have the, you know, we have the virus doubting our economy and then next California, you know, start what September fire season is upon September. Now

Jamie (11:54):
We may, well, it has to get super windy too, right? Oh, it’s plenty of windy and warm in may, so, yeah. Yup. Anyway, all right. Next week. I promise we’ll be a much happier topic. I think if you’re a homeowner though, there’s gotta be in your experience, if a homeowner wants to cut down a tree that’s near that a power line, do you know the process you call PGNE and say, Hey this tree is all entangled in the power lines. And then they say, okay, we’ll put it on the list. That’s it. So I would say keep calling if he can and maybe a new new thing could be, you know, you hire your own tree person and then send the bill to PGNE I’m sure that’ll work out. Great. I’m, I think you get arrested, I think what if you could, but if you could have the tree trim, do you pay for it and then just deduct it from your upcoming PGNE bills?

Jamie (12:50):
Yeah. Sounds good. Sounds like a plan. Sounds like an up total business opportunity that a nonprofit tree trimming company could totally get on board with or for-profit tree trimming company. But yes. Any who, yeah, I would say a tree trimmers essential business in this, a shelter in place so, well, wow. And do you think a PG and E pressured Contra Costa County to open up for essential services or for solar? I don’t know. A, it’s a, it’s a murky line where you know, dispensary’s are considered as spent essential services. I’m not sure how that happened, but it happened so, so I, it’s hard to determine what the idea is that we’re just keeping away from each other. So in the solar business, we’re up on the roof. Our guys are wearing masks. They keep away from me. They were driving separate trucks.

Jamie (13:44):
You know, the closest they get is when each one of them carries a solar panel, one at the top of the ladder and one at the bottom of the ladder. So that’s about six feet. Solar panels are six feet, but we practice a lot of social distancing of course. And yeah, it’s we’re, and we don’t go into the customer’s home. We have our own restroom facilities and you know, there’s no, no need for us to even have contact with the customer except when they, except when they pay us. We love that you got to have gloves when you’re picking up the check or they can just leave it out front. I would guys, you think of everything and gold bars. Yeah, that’s it. That’s good. Yep. For the coming apocalypse. Gold bars only from solid carbide. I thought you were taking Bitcoin now. Oh yeah, we’ll take Bitcoin. All right. Any last thoughts? No, I just, you know, keep everyone just stay home. Is there a reason that you need to go out to now? So stay home, enjoy yourselves, enjoy your, you know, do something different you haven’t done before. Learn something new. Do a training that you haven’t done, you’ve been meaning to do it better yourselves and stay home. Sounds a plan. Okay.

Adam (14:52):
Jamie, we’re going to wrap it up there. So if you have any questions for an upcoming episode, please feel free to send us a message on our Facebook page. It’s straight talk, solar cast, and of course, as always, leave us a five star review if you’re so inclined on iTunes and we’ll see you next time. Thank you.

 

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