Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall

So PG and E failed to maintain its power lines in California and caused the “Camp Fire’ which killed many, displaced more and left an entire map without a town where once a beautiful, thriving town stood. So many questions immediately beg to be asked, and part of an investigation needs to be conducted that would make the Spanish Inquisition look meek and mild by comparison.

What’s the big deal? It’s part of the implied contracts we all have but forget that really form the foundation for the Ethos that defines us. Your job is to use electricity and pay your bill on time and the utility’s job is to deliver power 99.9% of the time without causing mass death and harm to customers. It’s pretty simple and almost impossible to not do your job unless there are what many call ulterior motives.

Here is where I become medieval, and not in a way in which I could explain my actions after the fact. It is driven by my childhood sense of the most dangerous person among us; I always said that if a person killed another person out of rage, jealously, orders from a military commander or revenge it was awful, but somewhat understandable. If someone killed a person without any definable characteristic that would at least make some small sense; that person was truly a cancer that needed to be ended badly.

Now the motives and what ultimately seems to drive this, money. Some high level executive or executives are somehow compensated extra for the performance of a utility, which is a dowdy company formed when a contract is granted to provide utility service.

A company that historically paid a dividend during my childhood, was an investors hedge against inflation, didn’t put its name on stadiums, or advertise or perform better than expected in any way. Electric companies did exactly what the market expected, make a moderate return on invested capital but one that was bulletproof.

When you grant a CEO compensation based on performance, short term choices are made to make the current operations yield higher results. In a utility this comes from lower capital expenditures in replacing the delivery and generation systems in favor of profits and executive bonuses.

PG and E executives did not maintain the electrical network for many years. They endangered and killed people and destroyed far more property than terrorists have since the beginning of terrorism. The destruction and death were intentional, not exactly like the shooter in Las Vegas in 2018 or other horrible acts of mayhem that ended innocent lives, but certainly the results and the method of death was every bit as horrifying. Review of the documents will, I believe look like tobacco industry investigation data. The higher ups knew that systems were not maintained (and dangerously so) and they were unable to close the barn door until the horse had been stolen, burned and killed, along with Paradise California and woods that can never be replaced and 85 human beings who paid their electric bills.

So Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a big fall. It’s time for citizens, who are the modern version of all the King’s men (and women) to get to the bottom of this, put the utilities (all of them) in the hands and regulation of responsible executives and oversight and ultimately take the money, every single dollar of it from PG and E shareholders and executives along with criminally investigating those whose maintenance and replacement policies killed 85 people and destroyed more property than every effort in the history of terrorism.

Be mindful, be watchful and good luck!

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