California Legislative Special Committee to Consider Wildfire Liability

California lawmakers may change the standard for determining whether utilities are liable for wildfire damage following the worst wildfire season in state history.

Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders said on July 2 that they are forming a special committee to discuss fires.

State fire officials in June found the Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s power lines and utility poles were to blame for starting a dozen wildfires last fall. In all, the October fires killed 44 people, destroyed 8,800 structures and forced more than 100,000 people to evacuate. The damage resulted in $10 billion in insurance claims.

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PG&E has said climate change exacerbates wildfires and that it follows high standards for maintaining its equipment. Officials expect wildfires to worsen with the warming climate.

The committee legislation only applies to future fires.

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