Utility Make Fire, Utility Pay for It?
by Owen Stephens
Feb 10, 2019
As California reels from years of unprecedented wildfires sparked by utility equipment, PG&E has declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy and blames inverse condemnation- a constitutional right in California that holds a utility like PG&E strictly liable if their business of delivering energy results in the destruction of private property- for their woes, specifically in instances where regulators might prevent them from passing the costs to ratepayers. To address these tensions, lawmakers are looking at new funds and alternatives to ensure the utility has funding to make victims whole in a utility-caused disaster. However, advocates for fire victims are quick to assert that a lack of prudent management, not inverse condemnation, is to blame for PG&E’s problems.