SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — PG&E has reached a widespread settlement with victims of recent Northern California wildfires including the 2017 North Bay fires, company officials announced Friday.
The settlement amounts to $13.5 billion and settles all claims from the 2018 Camp Fire, the 2017 Tubbs Fire and the 2015 Butte Fire.
It also includes claims from the Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland in 2016 the claimed 36 lives.
The Camp Fire killed 85 and the Tubbs Fire left 22 dead.
PG&E is trying to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy by June 2020 while Bay Area officials rally support for a customer-owned utility rather than the current investor-owned operation.
PG&E is also on probation in a federal criminal case. The company was convicted of violating pipeline safety rules, record-keeping laws and obstructing an investigation into a gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno in 2010. The explosion and subsequent fire killed eight people.
Last month a federal judge ruled that PG&E could contribute $3 million to San Bruno for wildfire mitigation rather than complete 2,670 hours of community service.
Friday’s settlement stems from wildfires that were caused or may have been caused by faulty PG&E electrical equipment.
The firm in 2019 sparked controversy when it shut down power several times during wildfire season to prevent its equipment from starting a catastrophic wildfire.
The settlement must be approved by the bankruptcy court.
In a statement, Bill Johnson, president and CEO of PG&E Corp., said, “From the beginning of the Chapter 11 process, getting wildfire victims fairly compensated, especially the individuals, has been our primary goal.”
Johnson said now that the settlement has been reached, “We are focused on emerging from Chapter 11 as the utility of the future that our customers and communities expect and deserve.”
PG&E previously reached a settlement of $1 billion with cities, counties and other jurisdictions that were wildfire victims. It also reached an $11 billion agreement with entities that paid insurance claims stemming from the 2017 and 2018 wildfires.
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