PG&E has reached a $1 billion settlement with local governments in Northern California over wildfires the utility caused, with more than one quarter of the funds slated to go to Paradise, community that was ravaged by the 2018 Camp Fire.
Last month, Cal Fire announced PG&E power lines caused the Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive blaze in state history. The Camp Fire killed 85 people in Northern California and destroyed 18,804 structures, as well as much of Paradise. The Northern California town is slated to receive $270 million of the settlement funds.
Following several days of mediation sessions held in San Francisco, PG&E, currently in bankruptcy proceedings, reached a settlement with a total of 18 cities, counties, districts and other public agencies impacted by the 2015 Butte Fire, 2017 Northern California wildfires and the Camp Fire. In addition to Paradise, the agencies include the cities of Napa and Santa Rosa and the counties of Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Sonoma and Yuba.
PG&E CEO Bill Johnson said the settlement is a first step toward resolving wildfire claims against the utility.
“This is an important first step toward an orderly, fair and expeditious resolution of wildfire claims and a demonstration of our willingness to work collaboratively with stakeholders to achieve mutual acceptable resolutions,” Johnson said. “We hope to continue making progress with other stakeholders.”
The utility will make the combined $1 billion in payments to the local government agencies as part of its Chapter 11 reorganization plan. A bankruptcy court must still approve the settlement agreement before it is finalized.