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Pacific Gas & Electric Agrees To $13 Billion Settlement With California Families Hurt By Wildfires

Bruce Haring

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Pacific Gas & Electric will settle lawsuits brought by California families affected by wildfires with a settlement estimated at more than $13 billion.

The settlement covers families affected by wildfires and other blazes started by the company’s power lines in 2017 and 2018, the company said.

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PG&E announced the settlement in a statement on Friday night. Payments will be available for families who lost property and whose relatives died in the 2018 Camp Fire, the 2017 Northern California Wildfires, the 2017 Tubbs Fire, and the 2015 Butte Fire.

The settlement also covers the 2016 Ghost Ship Fire in Oakland, where 36 people perished when a warehouse exploded in flames. Lawsuits there claimed PG&E did not monitor or inspect and repair electrical equipment that provided the warehouse with power.

PG&E filed for bankruptcy in January, when it faced more than $30 billion in claims. The settlement announced on Friday will need US bankruptcy court approval.

“From the beginning of the Chapter 11 process, getting wildfire victims fairly compensated, especially the individuals, has been our primary goal,” said the company statement from president Bill Johnson. “We want to help our customers, our neighbors and our friends in those impacted areas recover and rebuild after these tragic wildfires.”

If approved, PG&E will emerge from bankrutpcy protections and will likely join a new insurance fund that will help with future wildfire related claims against utility companies.

 

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