PG&E Reaches $13.5 Bln Settlement With Wildfire Victims
PG&E agreed to pay around $13.5 billion to settle all individual claims related to California wildfires, due to which the electric utility had to file for bankruptcy.
With the Bankruptcy Court’s approval of the settlement agreement, PG&E hopes to emerge from Chapter 11 by the June 30, 2020 deadline to participate in the State of California’s go-forward wildfire fund.
In its third and final settlement, the company settled with the Official Committee of Tort Claimants or TCC and with firms representing individual claimants who sustained losses from the 2017 Northern California Wildfires and 2018 Camp Fire.
This will resolve all claims arising from fires including the 2017 Tubbs Fire, the 2015 Butte Fire, and 2016 Ghost Ship Fire in Oakland.
PG&E had filed for bankruptcy protection in January as it faced up to $30 billion in fire liabilities, including last year’s Camp Fire which killed at least 86 people. Equipment owned and maintained by the company started at least 17 of the 21 major wildfires in California in 2017.
A federal bankruptcy court judge in late November had refused to accept PG&E’s challenge to the California law regarding wildfire damages. The judgement upheld the principle of inverse condemnation, and found PG&E liable for the damages caused from the wildfire related to the company’s equipment.
The latest is the third and final major settlement that PG&E has achieved in its Chapter 11 case.
Previously, the company had reached a $1 billion settlement with cities, counties and other public entities. It had also reached an $11 billion agreement with insurance companies that have already paid insurance coverage for claims relating to the 2017 and 2018 wildfires.
PG&E CEO and President Bill Johnson said, “From the beginning of the Chapter 11 process, getting wildfire victims fairly compensated, especially the individuals, has been our primary goal. We want to help our customers, our neighbors and our friends in those impacted areas recover and rebuild after these tragic wildfires.”
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