Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) filed documents with the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) stating it will add a $2.5 billion charge to the books to cover future wildfire lawsuits and settlements. This charge will go on this current quarter ending June 30th.
PG&E noted it may eventually pay $10 billion or more to settle all the wildfire lawsuits. PG&E has $840 million in insurance coverage.
The company noted that, under California law, the company would be strictly liable for any fires they were found to have started. Previous investigations by CAL FIRE have indicated that all fires investigated were in fact started by PG&E equipment.
From the filing:
Under the doctrine of inverse condemnation, the Utility could be strictly liable for property damages and attorneys’ fees if its equipment was a substantial cause of a fire, even if the Utility followed established inspection and safety rules. The Utility also may be liable for fire suppression and clean-up costs, personal injury damages, and other damages if the Utility is found to be negligent, and the Utility could be subject to material fines or penalties if the California Public Utilities Commission or any law enforcement agency were to bring an enforcement action and determine that the Utility failed to comply with applicable laws and regulations.
In addition to finding PG&E equipment as the cause of 14 fires, CAL FIRE noted potentially illegal actions in 8 cases. PG&E may face criminal charges upon review by local district attorneys. PG&E was previously convicted on six felony counts when they blew up San Bruno residents in a gas explosion.
CAL FIRE turned over investigation results to local district attorneys in the McCourtney, Lobo, Honey, Sulphur, Blue, Norrbom, Adobe, Patrick, Pythian, Pocket and Atlas fires.
PG&E is facing hundreds of lawsuits. The wildfire lawyers at Levin Simes represent dozens of clients who suffered personal or property losses from wildfire. Contact Levin Simes at (415) 426-3000, firstname.lastname@example.org or through our website. We look forward to investigating your wildfire claim.