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Survivors fear smaller payouts from PG&E with each fire

Posted at 10:04 AM, Nov 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-23 13:04:35-05

Recent wildfires have scorched communities in California, leaving a new group of victims filing claims against a utility that is already under bankruptcy protection.

More than 70,000 wildfire survivors have filed claims against Pacific Gas & Electric, the utility whose equipment has been blamed for sparking deadly blazes.

As the count of homes destroyed ticks up, some fear their chance for a payout from the bankrupt utility is dwindling.

In its bankruptcy plan, PG&E has pledged to pay $8.4 billion to wildfire victims. A competing proposal made by bondholders seeking to gain control of PG&E would pay wildfire victims $13.5 billion.

Continued fires threaten those plans because both proposals give financial backers an out under certain conditions. For example, if PG&E-sparked fires burn down 500 houses this year, the backers of those plans can withdraw.