PG&E says it has reached $13.5 billion wildfire settlement

PG&E says it has reached $13.5 billion wildfire settlement

LOS ANGELES — Pacific Gas and Electric announced Friday it has reached a tentative $13.5 billion settlement resolving all major claims related to the deadly, devastating Northern California wildfires of 2017-2018 that were blamed on its outdated equipment and negligence.

The utility says the deal, which still requires court approval, represents a key step in leading it out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The deal is expected to resolve all claims arising from a series of deadly 2017 Northern California wildfires and the 2018 Camp Fire, which killed 85 people and all but incinerated the town of Paradise. It also resolves claims from the 2015 Butte Fire and Oakland’s 2016 Ghost Ship Fire.

“From the beginning of the Chapter 11 process, getting wildfire victims fairly compensated, especially the individuals, has been our primary goal,” Bill Johnson, PG&E Corporation’s CEO and president, said in a statement Friday. “We want to help our customers, our neighbours and our friends in those impacted areas recover and rebuild after these tragic wildfires.”

In most cases the 2017 and 2018 fires were blamed on power lines, and two attorneys representing more than 5,000 Northern California fire victims hailed the settlement.

“I think it’s a fantastic result,” said attorney Rich Bridgford of Bridgford, Gleason & Artinian, adding it will not only compensate thousands of devastated fire victims but also require PG&E to put billions into overhauling its infrastructure to prevent future disasters.

“You have to be mindful of the fact that PG&E is in bankruptcy,” he added. “This means they are required to perform a delicate balancing act aimed at achieving dual goals of deterring bad past behaviour on the one hand and on the other hand keeping the utility financially viable so that it can function and keep power flowing. We believe the settlement achieves this delicate balance.”

The 2018 Camp Fire was California’s deadliest and destroyed nearly 18,000 structures. The series of wildfires that spread across a wide stretch of Northern California in 2017 killed dozens and burned tens of thousands of structures.

“The goal of the litigation from the very beginning has been to change their behaviour, and that is their lack of safety standards and the way they manage and maintain their equipment,” attorney James Frantz said of PG&E.

The settlement is still subject to a number of conditions involving PG&E’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization plans, which must be completed by June 30, 2020.

Friday’s proposal responds to pressure from Gov. Gavin Newsom to give wildfire victims more than the utility originally offered, but it still relies on the bankruptcy judge’s approval as part of the proceedings. A February hearing at which an official estimation of losses will be made still looms for the utility and could upend any settlement deals.

“We appreciate all the hard work by many stakeholders that went into reaching this agreement,” PG&E’s Johnson said. “With this important milestone now accomplished, we are focused on emerging from Chapter 11 as the utility of the future that our customers and communities expect and deserve.”

PG&E said the proposed settlement is the third it has reached as it works through its Chapter 11 case. The utility previously reached a $1 billion settlement with cities, counties and other public utilities and an $11 billion agreement with insurance companies and other entities that have paid claims relating to the 2017 and 2018 fires.

 

PG&E says it has reached $13.5 billion wildfire settlement

PG&E says it has reached $13.5 billion wildfire settlement

Just Posted

Red life-ring with splash
Started from the bottom: How a family business started and grew in central Alberta

By Carina Moran We started our business in the basement of our… Continue reading

Shiree Appleman
Innisfail RCMP looking for missing woman

Innisfail RCMP is asking the public to help locate a woman who… Continue reading

Rotary Club of Red Deer logo.
Red Deer Rotary Club hosting tree planting event later this month

The Rotary Club of Red Deer will host a tree-planting event later… Continue reading

New admissions have been suspended for Engineering Technology diplomas (Instrumentation, Electrical and Mechanical) and the Transitional Vocational Program at Red Deer College. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Developmentally disabled impacted: Red Deer College suspends program

Transitional Vocational Program comes to an end

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw is asking Albertans to do their part by observing gathering limits, staying home if unwell, wearing masks and maintaining physical distance. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Three new Central zone COVID-19 deaths, Alberta adds 1,433 cases

Red Deer down to 802 active cases of COVID-19

Bo’s Bar and Grill owner Brennen Wowk said the hospitality industry is looking for more clarity from the province around what conditions must be met to allow for restaurants reopening. (Advocate file photo)
Frustated restaurant owners want to know government’s reopening plan

Restaurant owners feel they are in lockdown limbo

Welcoming cowboy boots at the historic and colourful Last Chance Saloon in the ghost town of Wayne near Drumheller, Alta., on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. The bar and hotel are up for sale. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘It was a going concern’: Remaining bar and hotel in Alberta coal ghost town for sale

WAYNE, Alta. — Built during the First World War, it survived the… Continue reading

A letter from a bottle that washed up in New Brunswick in 2017 is shown in an undated handout photo. A team of researchers from Université du Québec à Rimouski are trying to solve the mystery of whether a letter in a bottle that washed up in New Brunswick in 2017 was indeed from a young victim of Titanic shipwreck or simply a hoax. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, N. Beaudry, UQAR *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Real or hoax? Quebec scholars probe mystery letter allegedly from Titanic passenger

MONTREAL — Researchers from Université du Québec à Rimouski are trying to… Continue reading

Minister of Transport Marc Garneau takes part in a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019. Advocates, experts and opposition MPs say correspondence showing close communication between the federal Transport Department and the Canadian Transportation Agency regarding passenger refunds throws into question the independence of the CTA, an arm’s-length body. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Emails reveal close communication between government, transport regulator on refunds

OTTAWA — Advocates, experts and opposition MPs say correspondence showing close communication… Continue reading

Pharmacist Barbara Violo shows off a vial of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Toronto on Friday, March 12, 2021. Several family doctors and physician associations across Canada say they welcome questions from anyone concerned about second doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca or any other COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Family doctors say they can answer vaccine questions, after Trudeau recommends them

Several family doctors and physician associations across Canada say they welcome questions… Continue reading

The Olympic rings float in the water at sunset in the Odaiba section of Tokyo, Wednesday, June 3, 2020. A new Leger poll suggests Canadians are divided over plans to send athletes from Canada to the upcoming Olympic games in Tokyo as Japan grapples with climbing COVID-19 cases. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Eugene Hoshiko
Canadians divided on sending Team Canada athletes to the Tokyo Olympic Games: poll

OTTAWA — A new poll by Leger and the Association of Canadian… Continue reading

Harley Hay
Harley Hay: Insert your name here

Back in the Paleolithic Era when a McDonald’s cheeseburger was 29 cents… Continue reading

Black Press file photo
Job search: Write a request that will get accepted

Last Thursday, when I logged into LinkedIn, I had nine connection requests… Continue reading

T-shirt with vaccine shot. (Contributed photo)
Letter: Hand out T-shirts with vaccine shots

I made myself a graphic T-shirt recently after getting my vaccine shot.… Continue reading

Most Read