Random Thoughts Again

Blue&White
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby Blue&White » Tue Jan 29, 2019 2:30 pm

PSUgrower wrote:
Blue&White wrote:Here's a clip of Grower back in 1980.

So you think people should be allowed to sue the electric company in this case? From what I gather it was not necessarily their fault the fire happened.


I don't know enough about the situation to comment on the law suit. But, I think the argument that because people use electricity they have to accept having their houses and all their possessions burned to ash is moronic.

There needs to be an inquiry into what the cause of this was. If PG&E were a proximate cause, then they should bear liability. Whether or not they were is an unresolved question of fact.

Do you think if they caused the fire they shouldn't be held accountable?
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psu_dad
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby psu_dad » Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:15 pm

I think the argument that because people use electricity they have to accept having their houses and all their possessions burned to ash is moronic.

That's not exactly what he said, but I actually don't think his point was that moronic. People love the upside of modern conveniences but don't want to accept the downside. These systems that pump things like gas and electricity into people's homes are enormously complicated and intrinsically dangerous. To think that these massive utility infrastructures can be operated with a zero probability of failure is totally unrealistic. Some bad sh*t is absolutely/positively going to happen occasionally.

That doesn't excuse gross negligence, but I don't think the plaintiffs have proof of that (yet). They just want someone to pay for their inconvenience, regardless.
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Blue&White
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby Blue&White » Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:39 pm

I don't have an issue with people not being able to successfully sue over something that is basically an "act of god". But, the original point was an overal blanked statement that I thought was ridiculous. The facts an circumstances are not yet fully established. And, in all liklihood, without litigation they are unlikely to be. The state of California may investigate on their own and come to some conclusions but I am completely unconvinced that, absent a compelling reason to do so (like a law suit) they are goign to feel inclined to throw a necessary publice utility under the bus by releasing information that shows they caused it.

Maybe they didn't cause it. Maybe it had nothing to do with the utility and the people of California are just not all raking the woods enough. Or, more likely, maybe the lack of consistent rain the past decade and the increasing temperatures all joined together into an inevitable conflagaration that had catostrophic consequences. It absolutely seems there was inevitability to this given the amount of tinder and fuel there was. But, that doesn't mean that someone accountable for strating the blaze shouldn't be held accountable.
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Blue&White
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby Blue&White » Tue Jan 29, 2019 3:58 pm

Ok, now that I have a burr about this, a few other points I think need to be brought up:

1. there is some inherent risk in modern life, and people don't like to share in that risk. I get that point and there are some reasonable risks that we need to own up to. I'm ok with that as a concept.
2. Point #1 doesn't absolve large corporate interest of negliengence or malfeasance. Shit doesn't just always happen. Just because that part of California was a giant tinder box doesn't mean it's ok for a utility to not take every precaution to avoid a disaster.
3. While it's not yet been proven that PG&E screwed the pooch here, the fact is that they have a less than stellar track record here. In 2010 they were criminally responsible for a gas pipeline explosion that blew up a suburban California neighborhood and killed 8 people. And, it's not my opinion that they were criminally responsible. They were convicted and the corporate entity is actually a convicted felon (there's something you don't see really any day).

In the case of the San Bruno explosion, it was found that - get this - the utility did a crap job maintaining it's infrastructure and kept shoddy records to even know they could have a problem. Hard to believe, right? But, I'm sure they fixed that whole problem and were Johnny-On-The-Spot going forward.

I don't know what happened but won't speculate. But, the idea that the people trying to collect from them are just asking for handouts from a poor company is the kind of thing that just instantly gets my hackles up. Especially when it's a company with a track record of not giving a shit what level of risk they create for unknowing people if it means boosting their margins.
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psu_dad
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby psu_dad » Tue Jan 29, 2019 4:07 pm

The facts an circumstances are not yet fully established. And, in all liklihood, without litigation they are unlikely to be.

Perhaps, but I have a hard time believing that 12 jamokes sitting in a jury box who probably couldn't change a light switch in their kitchen are qualified to sort this out. If there's proof of gross negligence that supersedes the technical issues, such as a mandated safety inspection schedule that PG&E totally ignored, that's another matter. But I also have a hard time believing that someone at the state level is going to risk PMITA federal prison by covering up such a finding.

We'll see, I guess.

----------------------------

They were convicted and the corporate entity is actually a convicted felon (there's something you don't see really any day).

Then that should alleviate your concern about a state cover-up.
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Blue&White
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby Blue&White » Tue Jan 29, 2019 4:31 pm

It took federal prosecutors to get to the bottom of that. And, one of the conclusions was the the state PUC was too cozy with the entities they regulate. So, consider my concern unalleviated.

Btw, I wasn't suggesting they would cover it up. I'm more suggesting without scrutiny there isn't a lot of incentive to do an honest job.

We'll see what happens. I'm not really in favor of 12, or fewer, people being given a mountain of evidence and asked to render a decision. I think a better option is a panel of actual experts with no interest in the outcome sorting through this.
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psu_dad
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby psu_dad » Tue Jan 29, 2019 4:43 pm

I think a better option is a panel of actual experts with no interest in the outcome sorting through this.

AKA a Task Force. George Costanza dreamed of being a Marine Biologist. I've always wanted to be on a Task Force. But no one has ever asked, for some reason.

ME: Excuse me Mr. Chairman ... point of order, please.
CHAIRMAN: Jeezus. Would you just STFU already?
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PSUgrower
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby PSUgrower » Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:41 pm

psu_dad wrote:I think the argument that because people use electricity they have to accept having their houses and all their possessions burned to ash is moronic.

That's not exactly what he said, but I actually don't think his point was that moronic. People love the upside of modern conveniences but don't want to accept the downside. These systems that pump things like gas and electricity into people's homes are enormously complicated and intrinsically dangerous. To think that these massive utility infrastructures can be operated with a zero probability of failure is totally unrealistic. Some bad sh*t is absolutely/positively going to happen occasionally.

That doesn't excuse gross negligence, but I don't think the plaintiffs have proof of that (yet). They just want someone to pay for their inconvenience, regardless.

Agree with dad. Shit happens. We drive cars at high speeds and you might die tomorrow. I am not sure what gross negligence would be in the case in this situation. You have electrical wires at high voltages and they can catch things on fire. Isn't this why we get fire insurance? This country always wants to blame someone for something. I am tired of hearing about suing all the time when shiza happens.

Blue&White
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby Blue&White » Wed Jan 30, 2019 1:18 pm

You have electrical wires at high voltages and they can catch things on fire.

Wait - are you saying that fire due to power lines is a resonable and expected risk you take on when you have a house with electricity? Is that your argument? If you think that's a reasonable expectation, well, we don't live in the same realities. Power lines don't inherently cause fires. If they do cause a fire (and that is not yet established as a fact) then something went wrong. Sometimes things go wrong and it's not necessarily a matter of fault. But, sometimes things go wrong because someone was negligent. Like when this same power company was negligent in 2010 in managing their gas pipeline and they blew up a neighborhood and killed 8 people. Oh, wait, I forgot - when you have gas to your house you just automatically assume the risk that your supplier isn't going to properly maintain the infrastructure and could blow you up. That's just shiza that happens and who can say who's at fault? :roll:

As for your question on insurance, I havent' specifically looked into who is suing but if I were going to guess, I'd guess it's a combination of groups, including:
- people who lost more than their insurance coverage threshold or weren't insured (renters may not carry renters insurance, as an example)
- people who were injured or the families of people killed who are suing over injuries or loss of life
- municipalities are probably suing them too as these fires destroyed infrastructure, government buildings, and that's before you get into the cost of fighting the fire. Oh, and as an aside, the people who live in those towns have the wonderful benefit of paying twice for this fire - first with whatever they lost personally, and then in the form of taxes they pay into a town that may no longer exist. Lucky them.
- business entities who basically lost their businesses. They can get insurance money for loss of buildings and materials and what not, but what happens to your loss of livilhood?
- the insurance carriers themselves - when your carrier pays out your claim you subrogate your rights to them and they now have your right to sue as an injured party. They specifically have legal standing to file law suits for your loss since they paid out the claim. And, those insurance companies are going to pay out hundreds of millions each.

Again, I haven't looked at the law suits but I strongly suspect that Mrs. and Mrs. homeowner is a small percentage of the total dollars that people are asking for. I'd bet that my bottom 3 groups are the vast majority of the dollars being sought. And, if PG&E were negligent in maintaining their infrastructure and that caused the fire, why shouldn't they be footing the bill - or as much of it as they can - for all that damage? Why should it come off the backs and out of the pockets of pepole who didn't cause the fire? Because "shiza" happens? Seriously, that's about the stupidest thing I have ever heard of.
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psu_dad
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby psu_dad » Wed Jan 30, 2019 1:27 pm

Why should it come off the backs and out of the pockets of people who didn't cause the fire?

That's exactly where the money is going to come from. Who do you think takes it in the shorts when a public or quasi-public entity gets sued? It's not going to come from the 401Ks of PG&E's executives, that's for sure.

The NYPD settles 17,000 suits every day. You think the policemen's union passes the hat to pay for these?

Mrs psu_dad: 17,000?
Me: I exaggerated a little.
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