“The judges who made those rulings thought they were providing an efficient and equitable way to spread costs of natural disasters, by having all utility customers contribute the “just compensation” and eliminating any need to prove that utilities were at fault for widespread damage to which their equipment contributed. But there is substantial doubt whether the California Public Utilities Commission will approve such a passthrough of the latest wildfire costs, in light of recent Commission rulings. That sets up the same kind of insolvency trap that snapped shut in 2001. And to my knowledge no other state holds utilities liable for all wildfire damages regardless of the standard of care they followed in installing and maintaining the facilities involved.”
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