California commission’s task: Who should pay for wildfires?

View The Original Article Here

A new state commission is tasked with figuring out who should pay for California’s increasingly devastating and costly wildfires.

The five-member Commission on Catastrophic Wildfire Cost and Recovery met for the first time Monday. It was created last year by lawmakers to consider how to fairly distribute costs of deadly wildfires among utilities and their customers.

California suffered its worst and costliest wildfire seasons in 2017 and 2018. Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. has filed for bankruptcy, saying it can’t afford tens of billions of dollars in potential liability from wildfires sparked by its equipment.

California law says utilities are financially liable for wildfires sparked by their equipment. Lawmakers last year allowed PG&E to pass on costs from 2017 fires to ratepayers.

But the state needs a long-term solution.