The power company is accepting culpability in the 2018 California Camp Fire.
In 2018, a fire raged through the Sierra Nevada foothills in northern California. 85 victims were confirmed of this fire, and the Californian town of Paradise was completely destroyed. According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the fire’s point of origin was several malfunctioning pieces of Pacific Gas and Electric Company equipment. As a result of this, PG&E has been on trial for the death and destruction its equipment caused.
After prolonged legal procedings, the utility company has finally agreed to a plea deal. PG&E will be pleading guilty on one count of unlawful fire-starting, as well as 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter (one victim is not counted as their death was ruled to be a suicide). PG&E will be required to pay a fine of up to $3.5 million, as well as a $500,000 donation to the Butte County District Attorney Environmental and Consumer Protection Trust Fund to cover the costs of the fire investigation.
PG&E’s deal is currently awaiting approval from the Butte County Superior Court. This is in addition to the federal bankruptcy court overseeing PG&E’s chapter 11 bankruptcy filing made in January of 2019. That filing was partially made to secure money for a “Fire Victim’s Trust,” to be given to those affected by the fire caused by the equipment.