PG&E Reaches $13.5B Settlement With Fire Victims

PG&E, California’s power producer, has reached a settlement with the victims of some of the state’s most devastating fires in its modern history.

The $13.5 billion settlement will pave the way for the bankrupt company to get out of bankruptcy. In January, the power company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, stating its possible liabilities could surpass $30 billion from the 2017 and 2018 wildfires that were tied back to their equipment.

Bill Johnson, PG&E CEO, said now that the crucial milestone had been addressed, the company can get out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy and become the utility customers want and deserve.

According to state fire investigations, PG&E’s transmission lines were the reason for the state’s most lethal and damaging wildfire to date. The 2018 Camp Fire wildfire, which was driven by wind, left 85 people dead in and around Paradise.

They also felt it was the company’s power lines that caused numerous wildfires in the wine country area in 2017. This area is located north of San Francisco Bay.

PG&E said there are several conditions the agreed settlement must abide by, and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court must confirm it. The company faces a tight deadline because it must come out of bankruptcy by June 30, 2020 for it to get involved with the state-led wildfire fund to help alleviate the chances of wildfires caused by utilities.

Johnson said the company shares the focus the state has on reducing the chances of future wildfires and will do everything it can to alleviate the risks along their system.

PG&E had already reached an $11 billion settlement agreement with insurance carriers and a $1 billion settlement with cities, counties and other entities, tying back to the wildfires.

The company has come under considerable scrutiny after conducting precautionary power outages to reduce the chance of wildfires in the dry, windy weather.

According to consumer activists, state regulators and the governor, PG&E’s actions are too broad and isn’t doing much to secure and maintain their power lines properly. Utility executives understand there is need for improvement but defended its cutoffs as something necessary for public safety.

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Posted by on Dec 10 2019. Filed under Business, New. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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