SoCal Edison “Getting Away with Murder” after settlement decision – CBS Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A settlement was reached Friday afternoon between the California Public Utilities Commission and Southern California Edison in response to a lawsuit involving five forest fires that devastated the California countryside in 2017 and 2018.

SYLMAR, CA – DECEMBER 06: A member of the Edison crew inspects crashed power lines along Little Tujunga in the National Forest. (Photo by Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

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SoCal Edison has been ordered to pay $ 550 million to the California Public Utilities Commission’s Security and Enforcement Department, of which $ 125 million will be used to cover insurance claims from the Thomas Fire, while $ 250 million from the same reason to be used in relation to the Woolsey fires. The remaining amount will be used to pay a fine of $ 110 million to the California General Fund and $ 65 million for additional security measures; the $ 65 million must come from stockholders’ money.

These security measures include emergency prevention methods, system improvements, and contributions to fire-oriented non-profit organizations.

The CPUC’s Security and Enforcement Department determined that SoCal Edison has violated several state safety regulations, including the design, construction, and maintenance of power lines and communications facilities.

The lawsuit also concerns the Rye, Meyers and Liberty fires. The five fires caused a total of nearly 10 billion US dollars in damage, destroyed over 2,700 buildings and killed five people directly, 23 indirectly through Montecito mud slides on the Thomas Fire scar. The fires also burned nearly 450,000 acres – 447,225.

While half a billion dollars may seem like a drastic sum of money, some Ventura, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles Counties whose lives were changed by the forest fires see it as a slap in the face.

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Faisal Al-Hardan had a sea-view plot of land in Malibu on which he built his new home, which was destroyed by the Woolsey fire. He believes SoCal Edison can get away with it easily, with $ 550 million just a drop in the bucket for the multi-billion dollar company.

“They get away with murder, they did billions of dollars in damage that they don’t pay for. That is the bottom line. And that $ 550 million fine is a drop in the ocean, “said Al-Hardan.

He went on to say that the company would rather pay for fire damage than pay to move power plants underground.

Coupled with what many believe is far less than enough to make up for the aftermath of the fires, Edison leaves the fires with no blame on the fires even after signing the settlement agreement.

In response to the settlement, SoCal Edison made a statement through spokesman Ben Gallagher:

“The company believes the agreement is fair and reasonable and leaves additional uncertainty as the utility continues to implement its comprehensive forest fire risk mitigation measures. … Our thoughts remain with the families and businesses affected by forest fires. “

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Edison is not permitted to pass the costs of the settlement on to any of its 15 million customers as agreed in the settlement.

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