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California utility to pay $55 million for massive wildfires

SAN FRANCISCO - Pacific Gas & Electric, the nation's largest utility, has agreed to pay more than $55 million to avoid criminal prosecution for two major wildfires sparked by its aging Northern California power lines and submit to five years of oversight in an attempt to prevent more deadly blazes.

The company didn't acknowledge any wrongdoing in the settlement announced Monday with prosecutors in six counties ravaged by last year's Dixie Fire and the 2019 Kincade Fire. The utility still faces criminal charges for a 2020 wildfire in Shasta County that killed four people.

The civil settlements are designed to accelerate payments to hundreds of people whose homes were destroyed so they can start rebuilding more quickly than those who suffered devastating losses in 2017 and 2018 blazes ignited by PG&E's equipment. Those fires prompted the utility to negotiate settlements that included $13.5 billion earmarked for victims - money that still hasn't been completely distributed.

https://www.startribune.com/california-utility-to-pay-55-million-for-massive-wildfires/600164038/

 

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