In a recent settlement, SoCal Edison agreed to pay $1.5 billion for illegally dumping hazardous waste in San Jacinto Mountains National Monument into the watershed that supplies drinking water to 3 million people.
The “thomas fire settlement” is a decision that was made by the company. The company has been accused of getting away with murder for not doing enough to prevent fires.
(CBSLA) – LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – In response to a lawsuit involving five wildfires that ravaged the California landscape in 2017 and 2018, the California Public Utilities Commission and Southern California Edison struck an agreement on Friday afternoon.
SYLMAR, CA – DECEMBER 06: An Edison service worker inspects fallen power wires in the National Forest’s Little Tujunga. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images/Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)
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SoCal Edison was ordered to pay $550 million to the California Public Utilities Commission’s safety and enforcement division, with $125 million going toward insurance claims related to the Thomas Fire and $250 million going toward the Woolsey Fires. The remaining funds will be used to pay a $110 million penalty to the state of California’s general budget, as well as $65 million for additional safety measures; the latter must come from shareholder funds.
Emergency preventative tactics, system advancements, and donations to fire safety-focused NGOs are among the safety measures.
SoCal Edison breached various state safety standards, including the design, installation, and maintenance of electrical lines and communication facilities, according to the CPUC’s safety and enforcement division.
The Rye, Meyers, and Liberty fires are also included in the case. The five fires caused about $10 billion in damage, burning over 2,700 structures and killing five people directly and 23 people indirectly due to mudslides at the Thomas Fire burn scar in Montecito. A total of 447,225 acres were burnt in the fires.
While half a billion dollars may seem to be a large sum of money, some people of Ventura, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles counties who have been affected by the wildfires regard it as a smack in the face.
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The Woolsey fire destroyed Faisal Al-ocean-view Hardan’s land in Malibu, on which he was planning to construct his new house. He feels SoCal Edison is getting off lightly, claiming that $550 million is a drop in the bucket for the multibillion-dollar enterprise.
“They’re getting away with murder, and they’ve caused billions of dollars in damage that they haven’t paid for.” The bottom line is this: “And the $550 million fine is a drop in the bucket,” Al-Hardan remarked.
He went on to suggest that the corporation would rather pay for fire-related losses than pay to bury electricity equipment.
Along with what many say is insufficient compensation for the fires’ consequences, Edison also signs the settlement agreement without admitting culpability for any of the incidents.
SoCal Edison, via spokesman Ben Gallagher, released the following statement in reaction to the settlement:
“The utility feels the agreement is fair and reasonable, and it removes one more source of uncertainty as it continues to execute its complete wildfire risk reduction strategies….” Our thoughts and prayers are with the people and businesses impacted by the flames.”
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As agreed upon in the settlement, Edison is not allowed to pass on the settlement expenses to any of its 15 million consumers in any way.
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