PG&E to Plead Guilty to Involuntary Manslaughter in 2018 Campfire
In 2018, California experienced a deadly wildfire that killed about 85 people. In the city of Paradise, the utility Company Pacific Gas & Electric, has a 100 year old tower. It appears that neglecting to maintain a line caused a hook to come undone which led to the 2018 campfire. On Monday the company plead guilty to manslaughter.
“Facing tens of billions of dollars in wildfire claims, PG&E has been in bankruptcy reorganization since early last year. The company is racing to emerge from bankruptcy by June so that it can qualify for inclusion in a new state wildfire fund that could cover the costs of future fires.”
On April 24, a California court will either accept or reject Pacific Gas & Electric’s plea agreement which consists of a $3.5 million penalty and $500,000 to pay the district attorney’s office. Victims of the campfire are unhappy with the plea agreement stating the utility company will not be held fully accountable for the damage it created and lives that were taken.
“Ms. Gowins [member of a committee that represents wildfire victims in PG&E’s bankruptcy case] fears that people like her will ultimately receive little from the utility for their losses. Half of the $13.5 billion settlement PG&E reached with wildfire victims will be in the form of company stock, which has fallen sharply since mid-February when stock markets began tumbling because of the expanding coronavirus outbreak.”
According to the district attorney, under California law, the penalty given to Pacific Gas & Electric is the maximum penalty they can receive. The utility can receive up to $2 billion fine from the utilities commission and other governmental agencies.
Do you think the Pacific Gas & Electric company will be held fully accountable for the act of negligence committed or simply get a slap on the wrist?