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PG&E to pay $45M in CPUC settlement over 2021 Dixie Fire

PIX Now Noon edition - 1/25/24
PIX Now Noon edition - 1/25/24 07:37

SAN FRANCISCO – The California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday approved a settlement with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. in which the utility will pay $45 million in penalties for the massive Dixie Fire that burned in Northern California in 2021.

In a statement, the commission said the settlement agreement was reached after the agency's Safety and Enforcement Division conducted an investigation and issued an Administrative Consent Order after violations were found.

Under the terms of the settlement, the utility will pay $40 million in shareholder funding to digitize its records for distribution patrols and inspections. PG&E will pay $2.5 million to tribes impacted by the fire and another $2.5 million to the state's General Fund.

Officials said the Dixie Fire started on July 13, 2021 after a Douglas fir tree fell and struck energized conductors owned and operated by PG&E. The second largest wildfire in state history according to Cal Fire, the fire burned more than 963,000 acres in Butte, Plumas, Lassen, Shasta, and Tehama counties, destroying 1,300 buildings.

Thursday's action follows others taken by the CPUC involving the utility, including a $150 million penalty for the Zogg Fire that burned in 2020, a $125 million penalty for the Kincade Fire in 2019 and a $106 million penalty for violating guidelines during Public Safety Power Shutoff events in 2019.

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