How PG&E Is Racing to Improve Safety as Fire Season Approaches, New York Times ($)

The utility, which recently emerged from bankruptcy, is upgrading power lines, trimming trees and making other changes to prevent another big fire.

By Ivan Penn • Photographs by Jim Wilson

NAPA, Calif. — Atop an electrical pole overlooking grapevines, Pacific Gas & Electric recently installed a piece of equipment that will allow it to quickly turn off power to this part of California’s wine country when conditions for a wildfire are just right.

As long as a basketball pole and wide as a backboard, the gear is a small but critical part of the utility’s yearslong, multibillion-dollar plan to prevent the kind of fires that have killed scores of people, destroyed tens of thousands of homes and businesses and, last year, sent PG&E into bankruptcy. MORE>>