California lawmakers on Thursday approved a bill they believe will shore up the state's largest electric companies in the face of another wildfire season. Power companies like PG&E will have to spend billions of dollars on safety improvements under the bill sent to Governor Gavin Newsom. Newsom later issued a written statement on the bill.
"I want to thank the Legislature for taking thoughtful and decisive action to move our state toward a safer, affordable and reliable energy future, provide certainty for wildfire victims and continue California’s progress toward meeting our clean energy goals," he said. "The rise in catastrophic wildfires fueled by climate change is a direct threat to Californians. Strengthening our state’s wildfire prevention, preparedness and mitigation efforts will continue to be a top priority for my administration and our work with the Legislature."
The measure would also create a fund to compensate victims of wildfires caused by utility equipment in certain circumstances. Some lawmakers raised concerns about rushing the lengthy bill.
Senator Bill Dodd from Napa co-authored the bill. The Democrat said,"This bill takes an important step toward helping wildfire victims, preventing future infernos and protecting utility ratepayers. That's why it is supported by victims of our state's most destructive blazes as well as ratepayer groups. It is good for all Californians."