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US California eyes $1.6 billion penalty against PG&E for 2017-18 wildfires

09:35  18 december  2019
09:35  18 december  2019 Source:   latimes.com

California utility scrambles to renegotiate wildfire deal

  California utility scrambles to renegotiate wildfire deal SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom's opposition to Pacific Gas & Electric's restructuring plan just a week after it struck a $13.5 billion settlement with fire victims is forcing the nation's largest utility to go back to the negotiating table and come up with a solution fairly quickly. The San Francisco-based company needs to pull a deal off to meet a June 30 deadline to emerge from bankruptcy protection and regain its financial footing.

(Bloomberg) -- California utility regulators have reached a settlement with PG & E Corp. over violations tied to catastrophic wildfires ignited by the company’s power lines in 2017 and 2018.The proposed settlement would bar PG & E from recovering $ 1 .625 billion in wildfire -related costs from ratepayers

California utility giant Pacific Gas and Electric Co. ( PG & E ) has agreed to pay $ 1 billion to 14 local governments throughout the state for the wildfire damage caused by its Another 5 million will be divided by other jurisdictions and agencies hit by the wildfires in 2017 , including Sonoma County, the

SAN FRANCISCO — California regulators proposed a $1.675 billion settlement Tuesday with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. over the disastrous 2017 and 2018 wildfires.

a sunset in the background: The investigation continues into the origin of the Camp fire, which some say started with a faulty PGA wire in Pulga, Calif.© Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/TNS The investigation continues into the origin of the Camp fire, which some say started with a faulty PGA wire in Pulga, Calif.

California Public Utilities Commission staff members proposed the deal as part of a settlement agreement with the troubled utility. While not technically a fine, the deal says PG&E’s shareholders will eat $1.625 billion in “wildfire-related costs” and not bill its ratepayers.

Number of U.S. executions and support for capital punishment decline in 2019, report finds

  Number of U.S. executions and support for capital punishment decline in 2019, report finds The number of executions carried out in the United States dropped in 2019 and public support for the death penalty fell to nearly a five-decade low, according to a report released on Tuesday. © Pat Sullivan, File This May 27, 2008 file photo shows the gurney in Huntsville, Texas, where Texas' condemned are strapped down to receive a lethal dose of drugs. Twenty-two executions were carried out during the year, down from 25 in 2018. Texas conducted nine executions, while Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia conducted three apiece in 2019.

The proceeding will evaluate findings in the California Public Utilities Commission's (CPUC) Safety and Enforcement Division (SED) investigation into whether PG & E violated any rules during the wildfires , CPUC said Thursday.

The proceeding will evaluate findings in the California Public Utilities Commission's (CPUC) Safety and Enforcement Division (SED) investigation into whether PG & E violated any rules during the wildfires , CPUC said Thursday.

The proposed deal requires approval of the five-member commission.

In addition, PG&E shareholders agreed to spend another $50 million on “system enhancements” to improve wildfire safety. The company is already spending hundreds of millions of dollars this year on fire safety.

“This settlement agreement underscores our commitment to learning from the past and doing what’s right for safety in the future,” Chief Executive Bill Johnson said in a prepared statement.

The deal was announced as lawyers for PG&E struggled in Bankruptcy Court to secure approval for a separate, $13.5 billion payment plan to compensate victims of the 2017 fires in Napa and Sonoma and the 2018 Camp Fire, which destroyed most of the city of Paradise. The fires killed more than 120 people.

Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali approved the settlement after hours of legal arguments. PG&E still has to develop a broader bankruptcy plan that satisfies Gov. Gavin Newsom, who rejected the utility’s first try last Friday.

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©2019 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)

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Sizzling temperatures hit Australia as wildfires persist .
A code red was issued in South Australia on Friday as temperatures hit 42 degrees Celsius (108 Fahrenheit) in the state’s capital, while firefighters battling wildfires in New South Wales established containment lines in cooler conditions ahead of an expected heatwave this weekend. © Provided by Associated Press In this image made from video, smoke rises from wildfires Friday, Dec. 27, 2019, in the Blue Mountains, New South Whales, Australia. Firefighters battling wildfires in Australia’s most populous state are attempting to make headway amid favorable conditions, before an "extreme heatwave" hits embattled areas on the weekend.

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