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Utility workers with PG&E repair a damaged powerline near Lakehead, Calif., on July 2. Photo: Stephen Lam/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Pacific Gas & Electric, California's largest power company, announced Wednesday plans to bury 10,000 miles of its power lines to reduce its future liability for damages from wildfires sparked by its equipment.

Why it matters: The announcement comes just days after the company told the state that malfunctions with one of its utility poles may have caused the Dixie Fire, which has burned at least 85,000 acres.

  • PG&E's equipment also ignited the 2018 Camp Fire, which killed 85 people and destroyed the town of Paradise.

How it works: Because California has a liability rule that allows property owners to sue public utility companies for damages, PG&E will always be responsible for damages caused by wildfires set by its equipment.

The big picture: PG&E's plan is a massive undertaking that could cost between $15 billion and $20 billion, Patricia Poppe, chief executive of PG&E's parent company, said Wednesday, according to the New York Times.

  • The California utility currently manages more than 25,000 miles of overhead power lines in areas prone to wildfires.
  • Company officials said they hope to install 1,000 miles or more of underground power lines each year, according to the Times.

Go deeper: Wildfires mushroom in West amid heat, drought, prompting evacuations

Go deeper

Newsom signs $15 billion package to fight climate change

Gov. Gavin Newsom Photo: Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/East Bay Times via Getty Images

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a $15 billion climate package on Thursday as California wildfires threaten more sequoias at Sequoia National Park.

Why it matters: The package is the largest such investment in California history as drought conditions have worsened across the state and led to numerous wildfires. More than 1.9 million acres have burned across the state this year, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, including over 220,000 in the Caldor fire last month.

36 mins ago - Technology

Ex-N.Y. Post digital chief files lawsuit alleging sexual harassment

Richard B. Levine) (Photo by Richard Levine/Corbis via Getty Images

Former New York Post editor Michelle Gotthelf is suing her former employer, its parent company News Corp. and two editors, alleging she was reprimanded after complaining to senior executives that she was sexually harassed by retired N.Y. Post editor-in-chief Col Allan. The N.Y. Post issued a statement denying any wrongdoing.

Why it matters: "I felt that I owed it to myself and I owed it to the news organization and the people who answered to me," Gotthelf, who was a long time editor at the N.Y. Post, told Axios in an interview.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Political consultants pocket taxpayer cash

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Members of Congress are turning to the same political consultants who got them elected to blast out taxpayer-funded communications from their government offices, records show.

Why it matters: While those members are barred from politicking with official funds, the firms have expertise in boosting elected officials' images for political gain and are in high demand for both campaign and government work.