California Utility Companies Prohibited from Charging Ratepayers for Damage Caused by Wildfires
Several utility companies, including PG&E, San Diego Gas & Electric, and Southern California Edison, requested permission to charge ratepayers for fire-related costs not covered by insurance. This amount tallied to $379 million. However, in a recent decision, the California Public Utilities Commission denied the request. The utility companies are now having to absorb the costs themselves instead of charging ratepayers.
Understanding the Facts of California’s Wildfires
An investigation into the 2007 wildfires revealed that San Diego Gas & Electric had not acted with prudence or taken reasonable safety measures to prevent the fires. In fact, sparking power lines were responsible for 3 of the major fires that caused extensive destruction. In one case, a tree fell on top of a power line and started a fire, proving that San Diego Gas & Electric had failed to follow proper protocols and trim the trees back from the power lines.
For the fires that wreaked havoc in Northern California in October, 2017, an investigation is being conducted to determine whether negligence of the utility companies has once again been a major causing factor. While insurance coverage provides some relief for the damage, the utility companies are trying to push the costs onto ratepayers for the remaining millions of dollars. In its recent decision, the California Public Utilities Company hopes to prompt utility companies to follow safety protocols and be more responsible to avoid future fires.
To learn more about this issue, read this Mercury News article.
Dedicated Wildfire Litigation Attorneys in California
At Frantz Law Group, APLC, we are committed to helping clients pursue compensation for property damage and injuries resulting from wildfires. Our San Diego wildfire litigation lawyers believe in holding utility companies responsible for negligence or carelessness that results in destructive fires. Whatever your situation, we will answer your questions and work tirelessly on your behalf.
Contact our firm today for a free consultation.