SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF/AP) — Pacific Gas & Electric and a group of insurers have reached an $11 billion settlement of claims from wildfire victims including those from last year’s deadly Camp Fire that destroyed Paradise, the utility announced early Friday.
In a news release, PG&E — which is under bankruptcy protection — said the agreements covers all the insurance claims, but was reached with the group that holds 85% of those claims from the 2017 Northern California wildfires and 2018 Camp Fire.
“Today’s settlement is another step in doing what’s right for the communities, businesses, and individuals affected by the devastating wildfires,” said Bill Johnson, CEO and president of PG&E Corporation. “As we work to resolve the remaining claims of those who’ve suffered, we are also focused on safely and reliably delivering energy to our customers, improving our systems and infrastructure, and continuing to support California’s clean energy goals. We are committed to becoming the utility our customers deserve.”
The settlement now must be approved by the bankruptcy court overseeing PG&E’s Chapter 11 case.
A group of insurers said in a separate statement the settlement is well below the $20 billion the insurance companies had sought in bankruptcy court.
“While this proposed settlement does not fully satisfy the approximately $20 billion in group members’ unsecured claims, we hope that this compromise will pave the way for a plan of reorganization that allows PG&E to fairly compensate all victims and emerge from Chapter 11 by the June 2020 legislative deadline,” the insurers said.
PG&E sought bankruptcy protection in January because it said it could not afford an estimated $30 billion in damages from recent deadly wildfires caused by company equipment.