PG&E wants ratepayers to pay California wildfire costs

Fearing billions of dollars in future liability, PG&E has been aggressively urging state regulators to make it easier for the company to charge ratepayers — rather than its shareholders — when its power lines and other electrical equipment cause wildfires.

Top PG&E executives met as recently as last week to lobby officials at the state Public Utilities Commission in San Francisco over the issue, which could arise powerfully in coming months if the utility is found to be responsible for the Wine Country fires, a serious possibility that state regulators are now investigating.

In a 30-minute meeting on Oct. 17, Meredith Allen, PG&E’s senior director of regulatory relations, told Travis Foss, an adviser to PUC Commissioner Clifford Rechtschaffen, that PG&E and other California utilities are in “an untenable situation,” according to a record of the meeting that PG&E sent to the PUC as required under state lobbying rules. PG&E should not have to pay “a disproportionate” share of the costs of wildfires because of the growing fire risk and a tough insurance market, Allen argued.

Read entire article at: MercuryNews.com