Plan dropped to change utility liability for wildfires

Posted at 2:34 PM, Aug 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-18 17:34:01-04

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – California lawmakers are abandoning a controversial proposal by Gov. Jerry Brown to shield electrical utilities from some financial liability for wildfires.
Napa Democratic Sen. Bill Dodd tells the San Francisco Chronicle on Saturday that there just wasn’t enough time before the legislative session ends Aug. 31 to study and pass the issue. He says "it was a tough fight … so we are pivoting."
Brown’s proposal drew criticism that it would give utility companies too much protection without ensuring they safely maintain their equipment.
Lawmakers raised their concerns about Brown’s plan at an Aug. 9 hearing on the proposal as part of a committee set up to address wildfire issues.
Current California law holds utilities responsible for damage from fires ignited by their equipment even if they’ve followed safety rules.