PG&E settles with insurance companies, paying $11 billion in California wildfires

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) announced that it has reached an $11 billion settlement with insurance firms on claims arising from the disastrous 2017 fire in northern California and 2018 Camp Fire. 

The company’s statement on Friday stated that there is an arrangement “in principle with entities representing approximately 85 percent of insurance subrogation claims for an $11 billion settlement to settle all such claims.” 

In June, the utility paid $1 billion in damages to local governments for blazes related to its power lines, poles and other equipment. 

Most of the resources are linked to last year’s Camp Fire in Northern California, which killed 85 individuals and destroyed thousands of homes. The hardest-hit town of Paradise, left in charred ruins, is going to get $270 million to settle wildfire allegations. 

Payments are subject to bankruptcy court confirmation since the utility giant filed for bankruptcy protection in January after coming under the pressure of billions of dollars in wildfire allegations. 

The company has said it’s “probable” its equipment started the 2018 Camp Fire, California’s deadliest and most destructive when a power line touched nearby trees. By April, it had cited at least $7 billion in claims from that wildfire. 

In May, Cal Fire released a final determination that PG&E power lines did cause the 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.” 

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