California’s three biggest utilities all have agreed to participate in the creation of a $21 billion wildfire fund which could helped protect them financially in the event of another disastrous blaze such as happened in the previous two years. in that state
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), Edison International and Sempra Energy all agreed to pay into the fund. PG&E, which is in bankruptcy reorganization partially because of its liabilities in deadly, destructive blazes, initially will pitch in about $4.8 billion, with subsequent annual contributions of approximately $193 million.
Southern California Edison, which is owned by Edison International, will make an initial contribution of approximately $2.4 billion. SCE also will contribute about $95 million annually over the next 10 years.
The companies have notified the California Public Utilities Commission of its intent to support the statewide wildfire fund established by California Assembly Bill 1054.
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed that bill into law earlier month.
“California’s ever-growing risk of wildfire is a reality we must face squarely, and a matter of deep concern to all of us who call this place home,” PG&E CEO Bill Johnson said in a statement. “We appreciate Governor Newsom’s leadership in addressing this complex issue, with the recognition that there is more that needs to be done. We will continue to work with the Governor, the Legislature, the California Public Utilities Commission, and all other stakeholders in finding shared solutions to our common challenges without creating more costs for our customers.”
PG&E filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year after revealing that its wildfire liabilities may exceed $11 billion.
California suffered hundreds of wildfires in 2018 and 2017, killing more than 100 people and destroying thousands of structures.