Utility was over-billed for debris removal
PARADISE, Calif. (AP) — Pacific Gas & Electric has fired a contractor hired to haul debris from the site of a deadly 2018 Northern California wildfire, saying the company was over-billing the utility and paying “large sums of money and gifts” to two utility supervisors.
PG&E Chief Executive Bill Johnson said in a memo to employees that the two supervisors “are no longer with the company,” The Sacramento Bee reported Monday.
PG&E severed its contracts with Bay Area Concrete Recycling after investigating allegations about payoffs and over-billing, he said. A person answering the phone at Bay Area Concrete’s offices in Union City said the company had no comment.
Bay Area Concrete was hired to remove soil left over from PG&E’s efforts to rebuild the electrical grid and natural gas network following the fire that devastated the city of Paradise and neighboring communities.
The wildfire, caused by the utility’s electrical transmission lines, was the deadliest in state history and killed 85 people. An investigation by the Chico Enterprise-Record found at least 50 more people whose deaths were linked to the fire but not attributed to it.
Utility spokesman Matt Nauman said the utility has transferred the debris cleanup work to other vendors. He would not identify the two supervisors or disclose any other details about their involvement with Bay Area Concrete.
The San Francisco based utility is trying to emerge from a bankruptcy case stemming from more than $50 billion in claimed wildfire losses. California Gov. Gavin Newsom and lawmakers have threatened a government takeover of the troubled utility.
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