California investor-owned utilities (IOUs) are facing a perfect storm of potential liability for property loss and related costs from recent wildfires. Climate change related events, including massive tree kills due to insect infestation, other impacts of drought, and increased incidence of atypical windstorms, have led to more frequent wildfires. In 2017 both northern and southern California experienced unprecedented firestorms, and secondary impacts such as mudslides in fire-affected areas. While the causes of individual fires are still under investigation, utilities are facing lawsuits from individuals, businesses and local governments for fire damage allegedly caused by electric utility infrastructure.
The question of who will bear financial responsibility for wildfire liability and increased insurance costs is currently being discussed at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), in the courts, and in the California Legislature. The issues are multifaceted and complex.
Our attorneys are actively monitoring all of the interrelated wildfire issues at the CPUC, in the courts, and at the California Legislature. For more information, please contact Samantha Neumyer or Ron Liebert at 916-447-2166.