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Rim Fire Damage To Hetch Hetchy Water System Up To $30 Million

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Smoke from the Rim Fire lingers over the O'Shaughnessy Dam at Hetch Hetchy Reservoir on August 24, 2013 in Yosemite National Park. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Smoke from the Rim Fire lingers over the O’Shaughnessy Dam at Hetch Hetchy Reservoir on August 24, 2013 in Yosemite National Park. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

BarbaraTaylor_KCBS_0001r Barbara Taylor
Barbara Taylor is the long time San Francisco City Hall Bureau Chief...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— The cost of repairing San Francisco’s Hetchy Hetchy water and power system damaged in the Yosemite-area Rim Fire is now estimated at $20 to 30 million by San Francisco’s Public Utilities Commission.

The good news is that the PUC had the good sense to buy insurance for unforeseen disasters like this and the insurance policy will pick up the tab instead of rate payers or tax payers.

The PUC has been adding up the cost to damaged power houses, transmission lines and the rest of the system, while firefighters continue to battle the 20-day old fire, which is now 80 percent contained.

PUC Assistant Manager Todd Rydstrom said the agency is still in the preliminary condition assessment phase and that the system has one billion dollars coverage through Lexington Insurance and Travelers.

“We’re going through all the costs; accounting required and we’ll tee it up to insurance recoveries first and then look to other disastrous systems either at the state or federal level,” Rydstrom said.

Rydstrom indicated most costs will be covered by insurance with a $100,000 deductible and any extraneous expenses paid by state and federal disaster funds, hence no expected cost to San Francisco taxpayers or Hetch Hetchy rate payers.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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