PG & E goes with $ 1 Bill Settlement With Governments Paradise, California

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PG & E
Corp.

PCG 1.38%

It is agreed that you will pay $ 1 billion to more than a dozen cities, counties and California agencies to compensate for losses arising from wildfires that have prompted their equipment.

The agreement with local governments is the first major settlement since seeking PG&E bankruptcy protection in January. The company has estimated that potential liabilities arising from fires in 2017 and 2018 could be addressed by over $ 30 billion.

Paradise, the destruction town in Fire Camp last year, would kill 85 people, $ 270 million, the largest of any entity within the group. Butte County would receive $ 252 million when the fire occurred. A group of local governments in California's wine country, a location of destructive fires series in 2017, would share $ 415 million.

The agreement is subject to approval in a bankruptcy court and does not affect claims from individuals or firms affected by the fires.

Mayor Paradise Jody Jones said the settlement would allow the town to avoid an expensive trial and proceed more quickly with its reconstruction challenges, even though she expected to accept compensation at least until it was approved in court.

“This will involve the rebuilding and recovery of Paradise,” she said. “There are so many infrastructures that we have to put back into the home, there are so many tax revenues that we have lost and that we will not be going back for years.” T

California fire investigators have connected PG & E equipment to 18 fires which broke the wine region north of San Francisco in 2017, killing 22 people, as well as Camp Fire, last year's California fire.

The cities and counties that agreed with the settlement will use the money to reimburse some disaster recovery costs associated with these wild fires, as well as one in 2015.

“This is the first important step towards making a mandatory, fair and speedy resolution of demands for wild fires and a demonstration of our willingness to work with stakeholders to achieve mutually acceptable resolutions,” said PG&E in a statement. .

John Fiske, Baron & Budd's solicitor representing local governments, said they were looking for more than $ 1 billion initially but refused to specify. He said that he wanted to pay less than that but was able to negotiate.

“It was a compromise amount,” he said.

Bruce Alpert, County Councilor Butte, said the company had arranged accelerated debates with the county.

The county was one of the areas where PG&E had recently cut the power during high wind conditions to avoid another fire.

“There are a lot of procedures and delays that may occur in a bankruptcy court and we didn't want to get involved in that morality,” he said. “It was much simpler to sit down one-to-one or mediate to achieve this result.” T

Mike Danko, a trial lawyer in California who represents about 3,000 victims of fire, including many homeowners, said the amount of settlement showed the level of extinction of wild fires. He noted that PG&E had reached a $ 70 million settlement with San Bruno city following the explosion of a natural gas pipeline in 2010, killing eight.

“These are more appropriate numbers,” he said.

It expects the company to have over $ 30 billion of liability costs as more people and businesses come forward seeking compensation. His firm is still evaluating claims.

David Rabbitt, chairman of the Sonoma County Supervisors Board, said he was delighted to find a solution.

Vulnerabilities in the PG & E infrastructure combined with the impact of climate change have contributed to hundreds of wild fires in California, including the deadly Fire Camp in 2018. Here is a look at possible utility grid power grid upgrades. Put these blinds. Photo: Reuters

“There is a collective need to get this behind us,” he said, even as he noticed that bankruptcy bankruptcy means PG & E that the final judge will judge.

Write Katherine Blunt with Katherine.Blunt@wsj.com and Erin Ailworth with Erin.Ailworth@wsj.com

Presented in a printed edition of 19 June, 2019, 'PG&E Moves To Government Government Over Pay';

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