“The governor offered a draft proposal to lawmakers last week that would loosen the strict liability that utilities like Pacific Gas & Electric Co. now bear following fires like the deadly blazes that swept through Napa and Sonoma counties last year.
PG&E has already made plans for payments of at least $2.5 billion for those fires. And the company has warned additional costs could raise the possibility of bankruptcy.
Under Brown’s plan, courts would have to “balance the public benefit” of the utility company’s services to consumers with the “harm caused to private property.” And although the proposal would increase fines and bar electric utilities from passing the costs to their customers, it could give relief to any company that complied with safety regulations.”
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