California judge approves $24.5B in settlements for wildfire victims, insurers
Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) will be required to pay $24.5 billion to help pay for losses incurred in Northern California wildfires after a string of fires, caused in part by the utility, resulted in dozens of deaths and the destruction of thousands of homes.
Federal bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali on Tuesday approved the two settlements, making the utility more likely to be able to follow its preferred way to get out of bankruptcy, according to The Associated Press.
The company will pay $13.5 billion to people who lost homes, businesses and family members and $11 billion to insurers.
PG&E President and CEO Bill Johnson apologized for the fires in a statement on the settlements.
“We remain deeply sorry about the role our equipment had in tragic wildfires in recent years, and we apologize to all those affected. None of us wants to see another catastrophic wildfire in the communities we call home. This settlement agreement underscores our commitment to learning from the past and doing what’s right for safety in the future,” Johnson said.
The settlement comes days after California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) rejected PG&E’s proposed restructuring plan.
He has previously warned that California could take over if PG&E doesn’t get itself out of bankruptcy by the middle of next year.
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