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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Southern California Edison fined $550M for 5 wildfires

SAN FRANCISCO — California regulators approved a settlement Thursday that fined and fined utility Southern California Edison more than half a billion dollars for its role in five wildfires in 2017 and 2018.

The punishments are related to Thomas, Woolsey, Rye, Meyers and the Liberty fire. According to state fire officials, the Thomas fire, which burned in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, is the eighth largest fire in California history, burning more than 439 square miles. Meanwhile, the Woolsey Fire, which also ripped through Ventura County, ranks as the eighth most devastating fire in state history, destroying more than 1,600 structures.

The investigation found that the utility equipment had caught fire.

Southern California Edison reached agreement with the California Public Utilities Commission’s Department of Safety and Enforcement; After this, the five-member commission approved it.

According to the settlement, the utility’s shareholders will pay a $110 million fine to the state general fund and $65 million to pay for safeguards. It also prevents the utility from tapping ratepayers to cover $125 million in insurance-related claims for Thomas Fire and $250 million for Woolsey Fire.

California has seen increasingly devastating wildfires in recent years, made worse by climate change and drought. Utility equipment has been blamed for stoking some of the state’s worst fires.

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The CPUC’s Department of Safety and Enforcement found that the utility violated state safety regulations that govern the design, construction, and maintenance of overhead power lines and communications facilities. State regulators used a relatively new process to reach agreement with utilities, bypassing a more formal investigation process. It settles all claims of state regulators related to fires.

Southern California Edison serves 15 million customers and is one of the state’s three major investor-owned utilities. In signing the contract, the utility is not admitting any mistake.

SCE spokesman Ben Gallagher called the agreement “fair and fair.”

He said it “puts an additional uncertainty behind us as the utility continues to implement its comprehensive wildfire risk mitigation measures.”

The safeguards, for which the utility must commit $65 million shareholder funding, according to the agreement include things like system enhancements, community engagement and contributions to fire safety-focused nonprofits.

The Rye Fire in Santa Clarita, the Liberty Fire in Murrieta and the Meyers Fire in San Bernardino County all occurred in early December 2017.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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