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How PG&E helped build California, then helped burn it down

California Burning Katherine Blunt

The case can be made that modern California might not be possible without Pacific Gas & Electric. It helped build the society that exists today, and still has more customers than any other electric utility in the country. But PG&E also has a rough recent history, which includes blame for the Camp fire in Paradise, the deadliest fire in the state's history.

Katherine Blunt covers utilities and renewable energy for the Wall Street Journal, so she knows the issues of PG&E well, and sums them up in a new book. California Burning, The Fall of Pacific Gas and Electric–and What It Means for America's Power Grid traces the history, from early innovators to modern-day investors concerned primarily with getting greater returns on their stock.

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The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily talk show focused on news and interests across our region of Southern Oregon and Northern California. Angela Decker is the senior producer, Nash Bennett is the assistant producer, and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.