U.S. Utility Company Forced To Pay $80 Million

Photo by Mike Newbry on Unsplash

(FeaturedNews.com) – Southern California Edison has agreed to a $80 million settlement payment related to the claims about the 2017 wildfire that had destroyed national forest lands.

On Friday the parties finalized the settlement which is going to help the U.S. Forest Service recoup part of the costs from the wildfire damage.

The wildfire had damaged over 280,000 acres or around 440 square miles. Out of those over 150,000 acres belong to Central California’s Los Padres National Forest in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

The Ventura County Fire Department has reported that around 1,063 structures had been destroyed by the fire. The wildfire also caused the death of one firefighter and one civilian.

In 2020 the federal government ended up suing the company on behalf of the Forest Service, claiming that the company had owned and operated the power line that had caused two initial fire ignitions.

The lawsuit claims that the power lines had touched each other during the strong winds which resulted in the heated material causing the dry vegetation which was located under the conductors to catch on fire. 

The U.S. attorney’s first assistant attorney Joseph T. McNally had stated that this record settlement was going to provide taxpayers with important compensation for the costs of having fought the widespread damage to public lands. They added that the United States Attorney’s Office is going to continue pursuing compensation from any entity that was responsible for the damage in the forests.

The Utility is going to be paying the $80 million within 60 days of Feb. 23. The settlement does not require the company to admit wrongdoing or fault.

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