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LA County sues Edison utility to recover over $100 million in costs from Woolsey Fire

Jeff Daniels
  • Los Angeles County is suing Southern California Edison to recover costs in connection with last year's deadly Woolsey Fire.
  • The county says it incurred over $100 million in costs and damages in connection with the fire, which destroyed more than 1,600 buildings and damaged another 360 structures.

Los Angeles County on Thursday announced it filed a lawsuit against Southern California Edison to recover costs in connection with last year's devastating Woolsey Fire.

The official cause of the Woolsey Fire, which destroyed more than 1,600 structures and damaged another 360 structures, remains under investigation. The fire started Nov. 8 and was blamed for three deaths.

The blaze led to the evacuation of more than 200,000 people in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, and charred more than 96,000 acres there.

In a release announcing the lawsuit, the LA county said it incurred over $100 million in costs and damages in connection with the blaze, including fire suppression, emergency response, recovery efforts and loss of tax revenue.

"This legal action is an important and essential step toward accountability and recovery," said LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, whose district includes the Woolsey fire area.

SCE, a unit of Edison International EIX , has already faced multiple other lawsuits in connection with the Woolsey Fire. The utility is also the subject of separate litigation in connection with the massive Thomas Fire, a blaze which remains under investigation and burned more than 280,000 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara in late 2017.

"As is the case with litigation, SCE cannot comment on any lawsuits associated with the Woolsey Fire," the company said in a statement Thursday.

However, in a 10-K regulatory filing in February commenting on the Woolsey and Thomas fires, the utility said Cal Fire "removed and retained certain of SCE's equipment that was located in the general vicinity of suspected areas of origin of each of the fires."

The utility also said in the SEC filing it "believes that its equipment could be found to have been associated with the ignition of the Woolsey Fire."




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