PG&E agrees to $1 billion fire settlement with local governments

June 20, 2019

PG&E has reached a $1 billion settlement with local governments in Northern California over wildfires the utility caused, with more than one quarter of the funds slated to go to Paradise, community that was ravaged by the 2018 Camp Fire. [Cal Coast Times]

Last month, Cal Fire announced PG&E power lines caused the Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive blaze in state history. The Camp Fire killed 85 people in Northern California and destroyed 18,804 structures, as well as much of Paradise. The Northern California town is slated to receive $270 million of the settlement funds.

Following several days of mediation sessions held in San Francisco, PG&E, currently in bankruptcy proceedings, reached a settlement with a total of 18 cities, counties, districts and other public agencies impacted by the 2015 Butte Fire, 2017 Northern California wildfires and the Camp Fire. In addition to Paradise, the agencies include the cities of Napa and Santa Rosa and the counties of Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Sonoma and Yuba.

PG&E CEO Bill Johnson said the settlement is a first step toward resolving wildfire claims against the utility.

“This is an important first step toward an orderly, fair and expeditious resolution of wildfire claims and a demonstration of our willingness to work collaboratively with stakeholders to achieve mutual acceptable resolutions,” Johnson said. “We hope to continue making progress with other stakeholders.”

The utility will make the combined $1 billion in payments to the local government agencies as part of its Chapter 11 reorganization plan. A bankruptcy court must still approve the settlement agreement before it is finalized.


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oldtimer

I really wish California could control state utities as citizen owned operations for many reasons. We get spanked by giant utility corporations in rate hikes regardless, then watch CEO folk walk off with bonuses, and expect Congress to keep us safe whom lobby for these business stealing our assets and investments? But corporations use scare tactics with verbiage and high paid lawyers, and call state ownership socialism. I am pretty ignorant to how Alaska handles it’s oil and gas; I know it’s had issues holding contractors for spills accountable to do bad Gov; ie friends of the “oil cartel”. And to call natural resources managed by rich folks a “cartel” is pretty scary. Especially that Crown Prince in the gulf. And I’m not talking Iran.


oldtimer

I’d wrather not see profit in a Few 1 percent pockets as it has been for some time. Profit could go to infrastructure and yes, reparations to whom sat on this land for 10k years, yes the chumash!


DocT

For the sake of discussion, let’s assume that PG@E deliberately started the fires. (they didn’t of course)


Who was damaged by their arson? People who lost their lives, property, livelihood and loved ones. These many people have been victimized by PGE’s arson.


So, when there are victims of criminal activity who should the guilty party pay?


The government of course! Not the stupid people who lost everything….but the government!


Yep. That’s right. The victim of PGE’s arson is the government. Not the people who lost everything, but their local masters.


Of course, PGE isn’t going to pay this. Rate payors will.


Makes perfect sense! Start a fire, kill lots of people, destroy lots of property, ruin thousands of lives…..and the local governments are the victims and get the compensation.


If you’re just a taxpayor who lost everything, you can get a low interest loan (you’ll need to pay it back) if you want to rebuild…..after obtaining permits from the newly enriched local government. But the government gets free money to waste.


Madness. How is the government the victim and not the people who lost everything?


You heard it here first folks:


With this insane, unfair, ridiculous process now in place, where public utilities make direct cash payments to governments if their gear can be shown to start a fire, we can be sure of one thing:



Lot’s more deadly fires, year after year until the state takes public utilities into receivership.


oldtimer

Right, it’s a contractor at this moment, hopefully they liquidate the business and make these things state owned. at least massive pay out to some rich jerk would stop, and we solely have our selves as accountable in all aspects. Loss of life in all aspects is the tradgedy, but hearing 1 day before bankruptcy a few psychopathic CEO folk gave themselves massive bonuses on the radio shocked me, and probably most everyone rightfully. The whole CEO to Politics to University system I learned about in US gov classes is insane, and is all about bilking money off of simple folk like me. Private business take advantage of our Gov constantly. Anyone watch Cspan recently in confronting contractor’s ripping us off in the most insane ways? I encourage everyone to watch Cspan on the reg. I do.


oldtimer

Lastly, last 2 presidents including this one are trying to privatize as many things as possible, reducing transparency, accountablitly and increasing costs. All for Capitolism they say, but not really. Capitol for a few only. No more too big to fail private companies getting bail outs. We all remember what happens when you De regulate business; Bush and Trump, they get greedy, then get a cash handout for Bonuses and failure; Obama. Now we do it all over again. De regulate in this admin, next one will bail out more.


Mitch C

PG&E will only serve as a pass through agent, while PG&E May write the check it will be the ratepayers that foot the bill. Those individuals who suffered loss should be made whole before any government agency is compensated.


LameCommenter

Your correct, Mitch C, the public WILL pay, but aren’t we paying for what WE ask for? Consider that the PUBLIC dictates OUR mostly overhead, mostly NOT underground, general transmission and distribution of electricity, NOT PG&E.


We the public do so via our councils and planning commissions and our PUC via it’s General Order 95, all of which dictate how electricity will be distributed. PG&E is just following orders and since ALL mechanical devices/systems will occasionally fail catastrophically (space shuttles, air and ocean liners, taut wires strung between poles), aren’t ratepayers the root cause?


No I don’t work for PG&E nor own their stock.


Furthering this rebel idea, just look at how a piece of foam from a shuttle, an iced airplane pitot sensor, metal fatigue on a transmission tower bracket all of which HAVE failed despite heavy maintenance and inspection by those responsible.


Not to let PG&E off the hook, but one can see how the PUBLIC TROUGH will be used in an effort to compensate these huge tragic fire losses. The ONLY answer is going to be these miserable three day long “safety” shutdowns on hot, windy days, for rural customers.


rjakelian

This is the American way. I’m sure some low-level workers/engineers warned about potential dangers but were brushed off/ gnored by upper management.this was condoned by a CEO who probably got a bonus for saving millions in needed maintenance. In the end, average guys will pick up the tab ( bailout ) CEO’s just keep doing the same… The 10-20-100 million they saved caused a billion.


horse_soldier

How is there a “fair resolution” for the loss of 85 lives?


Snoid

One needs to ask just how much has Calif government collected in fines off others such as PG&E, Monsanto, Chevron, Unocal, Mobil,Texaco,bla,bla,bla. So in this one a 1/4 of this goes to the city of Paradise? to who, the Paradise Gov? How about the folks who lost their every possession in the fires, what do they get, a jar of Vaseline and a kiss goodbye?. Again proves the public who put these “representatives” are not their first interests.


ratherbefishing

Yep, seems like a serious conflict of interest. Gov’ts profit from malfeasance and catastrophes but actual victims little to none.