Bill would allow utility companies to pass on 2017 wildfire costs to customers

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thank you for joining us for the news at 6:00 I’m Richard your heart and I’m Kathy credit California utility companies could be facing hefty lawsuits for devastating fires last year now a new bill could allow them to charge you to cover some of those costs KSP watt news reporter Megan he leans this live outside of the PG&E Education Center in Avila with some paying customers with what some paying customers had to say Megan that’s right Richard and Kathy a be 33 now sitting on Capitol Hill could allow power companies like PG&E and Southern California Edison to charge its customers an additional fee to help cover some of the costs in the settlement cases for the pending California wildfire lawsuits this bill follows Cal Fire’s investigation into some of the state’s deadliest fires Cal Fire found P genies powerlines were at fault for 12 of the last October’s wildfires and some customers don’t think it’s fair to pay for the utilities mistakes if it’s truly negligence then then I would say yeah you guys are up for it a B 33 would allow utility companies to use state issued bonds for damage injury and firefighting costs and then consumers would have to pay off that fee critics say the legislation is a bailout why would we have to pay for something that they made a mistake about that doesn’t seem right in a sort of way the law would only apply to wildfires in 2017 when dozens of people were killed and thousands of buildings destroyed one man says he doesn’t mind if the fee is within reason we all consume the product that they make so the overall cost has to be passed on to the consumer eventually anyway so PG&E said it has about 2.5 billion dollars set aside for potential lawsuits but lawmakers say it would be too much for the utility company to pay alone the bill reads the magnitude of potential damage claims undermines Pacific Gas and Electric company’s ability to invest in the infrastructure necessary to meet the state’s aggressive wildfire mitigation and clean energy plans end quote some say it’s a shared responsibility asking them to pay for all of the fire damage is one thing I think we’re all gonna have to eventually share in that responsibility an email statement a spokesperson from PG&E said quote this issue is critical to our customers the states and PG&E PG&E appreciates the California legislators willingness to address the issues related to wildfire end quote I took I spoke to both a Southern California Edison and Cal Fire and they both told me they aren’t taking a stance on the bill at this time live in Avila Beach Megan Healy KSBY news all right Megan thank you the bill will go before the assembly and Senate later this week

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