California lawmakers take up key wildfire proposals

Posted at 11:24 AM, Jul 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-08 14:24:35-04

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – California lawmakers are taking up proposals aimed at stabilizing the state’s electric utilities in the face of devastating wildfires caused by their equipment.

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom wants the bills to pass by Friday, when lawmakers go on a monthlong break. Ratings agencies that assess the state’s investor-owned utilities such as Moody’s are closely watching the Legislature’s action.

Two pieces of legislation are up for hearings Monday. One would create a “wildfire fund” with tens of billions of dollars to help pay out damage claims from devastating fires. Utilities could tap it if they follow certain safety steps.

The other would create a new Office of Energy Infrastructure Safety to oversee the state’s and utilities’ wildfire safety efforts.

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