Lawmaker Proposes California Utility Companies Pay Into New State Fund to Cover Wildfire Costs

Flames flare up next to electric poles from the Blue Cut wildfire near Cajon Pass, north of San Bernardino, California on Aug. 16, 2016. (Credit: RINGO CHIU/AFP/Getty Images)

Flames flare up next to electric poles from the Blue Cut wildfire near Cajon Pass, north of San Bernardino, California on Aug. 16, 2016. (Credit: RINGO CHIU/AFP/Getty Images)

With negotiations intensifying over how California’s electric utilities should help pay to fight wildfires, a prominent Republican lawmaker says the companies should contribute to a new multibillion-dollar fund that would help mitigate those expenses.

The proposal by Assemblyman Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley) would create the California Wildfire Insurance Fund, a pool of money collected from utility companies that could be used to cover some of the “extraordinary costs arising from wildfires,” according to the draft legislation.

The plan would help utilities that act prudently, while reducing the impact from future fires on utility ratepayers, Mayes said.

“This fund ensures victims of wildfires can quickly rebuild their lives, and utility investors have to help pay for that,” he said.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.