The beleaguered Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) power utility has been blamed for power lines and business practices causing massive fires here in California. While it filed for bankruptcy protection in January, the company has announced that it will pay $1 billion to 14 municipal agencies and jurisdictions to help rebuild.
Highlights of the settlement include:
- 2015 Butte Fire: Butte County will receive $252 million
- 2017 North Bay Fire: $415 million will be divided among Sonoma County and the City of Santa Rosa as well as the town and county of Napa.
- 2018 Camp Fire: The town of Paradise was decimated and will receive $270 million, with another 47.5 million going to Paradise Recreation and Parks.
More to come
This proposed settlement does not include claims made by businesses and families – the Camp Fire was the deadliest fire in California history with 85 deaths and fire damage to more than 150,000 acres.
According to a statement by a company spokesman, the settlement is "an important first step toward an orderly, fair and expeditious resolution of wildfire claims. We remain focused on supporting our customers and communities impacted by wildfires and helping them recover and rebuild."
Municipalities need advocates
This settlement is the result of 14 municipalities coming together to help their residents and rebuild their communities. The tragedy of these fires is that they have impacted so many communities, which means it is hard to be heard when so many are seeking money. Nevertheless, a legal team with experience handling municipal issues can be a tremendous asset in ensuring the payments go where they should.