SAN FRANCISCO — Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) announced it has reached an $11 billion settlement with insurance companies for claims stemming from the devastating 2017 wildfires in northern California and the 2018 Camp Fire.
A statement from the company Friday said the settlement covers 85% of the claims. “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.”
In June, the utility paid $1 billion in damages to local governments for blazes linked to its power lines, poles and other equipment. Most of the funds are related to last year’s Camp Fire in Northern California that killed 85 people and destroyed thousands of homes. The hardest-hit town of Paradise, which was left in charred ruins, will get $270 million to resolve wildfire claims.
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The payments are subject to bankruptcy court confirmation since the utility giant filed for bankruptcy protection in January after coming under pressure from billions of dollars in claims tied to the wildfires.
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.