SACRAMENTO (AP/CBS SF) – Thousands of miles of electrical power lines are slated to be buried underground in California.

The bill requiring California utilities to prepare wildfire mitigation measures is heading to the governor for signature.

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Lawmakers approved wildfire preparedness and response bill SB 901, authored by California Senator Bill Dodd (D) from Napa County, last month. Northern

The bill requires utilities with overhead electrical lines in high fire risk areas to come up with a replacement plan to minimize the risk of a catastrophic wildfire.

In response, Southern California Edison vowed to replace 3,400 miles of overhead power lines with insulated wire to reduce the risk of them sparking when hit by tree limbs or other objects.

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The utility announced Monday that it aims to replace the lines by 2025 to align itself with SB 901.

Sparking power lines were one of the leading causes of California’s wildfires. Wildfires have killed dozens of people and destroyed thousands of homes in recent years.

The legislation sparked debate because it also will allow another utility company — Pacific Gas & Electric — to raise electric rates to cover the costs of lawsuits from last year’s deadly wildfires amid fears it could go bankrupt otherwise.

 

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