The Pacific Gas and Electric company in California is off the hook for criminal charges related to the massive Dixie fire and the 2019 Kincade fire.
PG&E is cutting a deal with prosecutors for a civil penalty valued at $55 million in lieu of criminal charges. The Sonoma County DA is dropping those charges and prosecutors elsewhere in the Sacramento valley and foothills are expected to do the same - "I look at it as doing the best that we could under the circumstances," Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch said. "Governor Newsom has decided that PG&E is going to continue, and so we're going to have to deal with PG&E in our community." The tens of millions of dollars will be paid in the form of fines, charitable contributions, and other related payouts.
Federal prosecutors are also investigating PG&E's roll in the Dixie Fire, the second largest known fire in state history. The deal made includes a plan to expedite damages payments for the hundreds of homes and residences destroyed in the Dixie Fire, and would enable state civil court oversight of PG&E for the next five years. The 85 felony convictions against PG&E for the 2018 Camp Fire resulted in only $3.5 million in criminal penalties, since corporations are subject to the same maximum fines as people and none of the prison time. PG&E reportedly earned that amount of revenue in less time than it took its executives to return from the Butte County Courthouse to San Francisco.
At this time, they're not party to this plea deal.