On February 28, 2019, as part of an announcement of its 2018 earnings, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) admitted that its equipment likely sparked the most destructive wildfire in California history – the 2018 Camp Fire. Specifically, PG&E pointed to the fact that: 1) a PG&E transmission tower line relayed and de-energized approximately 15 minutes before the fire started, 2) a PG&E employee observed a fire in the vicinity of the transmission tower, 3) damage occurred to the tower the day the fire started, and 4) an employee spotted downed powerlines at or near a potential ignition point the day the fire started.
Because of the increased likelihood that PG&E is responsible for the fire, the company added $10.5 billion in potential liability to its books. The utility could face at least $30 billion in damages for the 2017 and 2018 wildfires. While the investigation into the cause of the wildfire is still in progress, PG&E’s recent announcement will be significant for outstanding claims submitted by victims of the tragic 2017 Northern California Wildfires and 2018 Camp Fire. PG&E’s anticipated liability for damages from these fires led to its decision to file for Chapter 11 in January.
For more information about the PG&E bankruptcy proceedings see our blog post here. If you or someone you know would like an update on the proceedings or has any questions about submitting a potential fire claim, please do not hesitate to contact our office at 916-520-6639. For more information about the initial findings, click here to view the full article from Law360.