California mulls decision to issue bonds to wildfire victims

California mulls decision to issue bonds to wildfire victims | Insurance Business

California mulls decision to issue bonds to wildfire victims

The state of California is moving forward with a plan to allow an energy company to issue bonds to victims of last year’s Tubbs Fire event.

Earlier this week, California senator Bill Dodd said that the plan’s details are still being ironed out, but a proposal may be issued soon. The plan is a part of a comprehensive wildfire bill currently undergoing evaluation by a state conference committee.

Legislators are looking to complete the bill, AB 33, before the legislative session ends August 31, Bloomberg reported.

The plan would help PG&E – the utility company linked to the Tubbs Fire – which is currently exposed to billions in damages related to the Tubbs Fire. While state fire investigators have yet to issue a statement on the cause of the wildfire event, a CalFire report found that PG&E’s power lines may have caused 12 fires, which burned over 150,000 acres and led to the deaths of nine.

Although lawmakers have pushed AB 33, they have also seemingly abandoned another legal effort – one that would change state liability laws.

Current liability laws in California would hold PG&E liable for tens of billions of dollars in wildfire damages under the “inverse condemnation” doctrine. But some lawmakers and PG&E had initially proposed a reformation to the law that drops inverse condemnation, which would have protected the company and other utilities from covering future wildfire damages that are not directly their fault.