SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) today released the following statement regarding California Senate Bill 819.
While there has been no determination on the causes of the Northern California wildfires that took place in October, it is clear that California needs much broader reforms that recognize the mutual interests of customers, utilities, investors, insurers and others as we work together to address the impacts of climate change including more frequent and more damaging wildfires. California is one of the only states in the country where the courts have applied inverse condemnation liability to events caused by a privately owned utility’s equipment. This means that if a utility’s equipment is found to have been a substantial cause of the damage in the event like a wildfire – even if the utility has followed established inspection and safety rules – the utility may be liable for property damages and attorneys’ fees associated with that event. Allowing essentially unlimited liability undermines the financial health of the state’s utilities, discourages investment in California and has the potential to materially impact the ability of utilities to access the capital markets to fund utility operations. All of these are bad for customers and bad for the state of California. And, at a time when California is asking privately owned utilities to invest billions of dollars to meet the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals, these risks pose real consequences for the state’s environment, economy and communities.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric energy companies in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/ and pge.com/news.