Pacific Gas & Electric, the utility that has pleaded guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter for the 2018 Camp fire, plans to pay its $4-million fine from a fund set aside for victims of the blaze.
The utility is on the hook for $3.5 million in fines and penalties and an additional $500,000 that will go to the Butte County District Attorney’s Environmental and Consumer Protection Fund as part of a plea agreement the utility recently reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The utility plans to pay that $4 million out of a $13.5-billion Fire Victim Trust that was set up during its bankruptcy after the wildfire, which killed 85 people and destroyed more than 18,000 buildings in the rural mountain town of Paradise in Northern California.
“This is an unconscionable attempt to avoid responsibility for the very crime to which it just confessed,” said Michael Carlson of Caymus Vineyards, one of thousands of claimants against the utility. “The district attorney worked hard to hold PG&E responsible for its crime, and we are confident he never intended for PG&E to use funds dedicated to fire victims.”
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