Pacific Gas & Electric location located in San Francisco. Pacific Gas & Electric location located in San Francisco.

A federal judge has ordered PG&E Corp. to respond to a newspaper report claiming that the company has long known that parts of its system for transmitting electricity across Northern California were dangerously outdated.

The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday reported based on documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act that the company has for years declined to pay for upgrades to hundreds of miles of its high-voltage power that could fail and spark fires.

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