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California lawmakers weigh plan to alter utility liability

Posted at 8:21 PM, Aug 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-09 23:21:58-04

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – California lawmakers are raising concerns that a proposal from Gov. Jerry Brown to shield electrical utilities from some financial liability for wildfires might protect them too much without ensuring the utilities safely maintain their equipment.
    
The issue of wildfire liability has been a fraught topic in the capital as wildfires rage across California. The lawmakers raised their concerns during a hearing Thursday on the proposal as part of a committee established to address wildfire issues.
    
Current California law holds utilities responsible for damage from fires ignited by their equipment even if they have followed safety rules.
    
Those who want to change the law fear utilities will raise prices for California residents as climate change makes wildfires more severe.
    
Some lawmakers said they weren’t persuaded Brown’s proposal would hold utilities accountable.

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