Politics

California lawmakers look at changing who pays for power line-caused fire damage

Highway 150 was impassable about 1/4 mile south of Thomas Aquinas College due to burned power poles on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, after the Thomas Fire swept through the area.
Highway 150 was impassable about 1/4 mile south of Thomas Aquinas College due to burned power poles on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, after the Thomas Fire swept through the area.
Sharon McNary/KPCC

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As California's monster fires continue to blow away records, the state Legislature is examining ways to reduce the risk from the power lines that caused some of the fires.

One tactic would give investor-owned utilities a big incentive to clear more trees and brush from power lines. Right now, they can be held liable for damages running into the hundreds of million if their equipment causes a fire. The proposal under consideration would spare them that expense IF they followed an aggressive fire prevention plan.
 
However, if companies are found to be negligent, their shareholders would have to pay.

Read more about fires on LAist: California Has Had A Monster Wildfire Every Year For The Past 7 Years