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Utilities commission report puts broken PG&E equipment at fire origin

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PG&E
Attorneys painted starkly different pictures of PG&E and their oversight over natural gas infrastructure during closing arguments of a federal criminal trial on charges of violating a pipeline safety law.

PG&E acknowledged to the California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday that some equipment failed in the general vicinity where the Kincade fire broke out Wednesday night.

The broken equipment was found on a transmission tower near Kincade Road and Burned Mountain Road, according to a report PG&E filed with the CPUC at 11:30 a.m. Thursday.

Cal Fire puts the origin in the same location, according to their fact sheet last updated at 7:12 p.m.

PG&E officials said that at 9:20 p.m. Wednesday they became aware of a transmission-level outage on the Geysers #9 Lakeville 230kV line, which de-energized when the line relayed and did not reclose.

At 7:30 a.m. Thursday a PG&E troubleman patrolling the line found that Cal Fire had taped off the base of transmission tower 001/006 and Cal Fire personnel showed the troubleman what appeared to be a broken jumper on the tower.

PG&E officials said they did not de-energize the transmission lines in that area but did de-energize distribution lines, which are the smaller lines that connect to homes and businesses.

They made those two decisions based on protocol and weather conditions.

Mark Quinlan, senior director for emergency preparedness and response at PG&E, said most of the fire risk is on distribution lines.

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