SoCal Edison will pay $550 million in new settlement for 2017-18 wildfires

Southern California Edison will pay $550 million under a settlement related to a series of 2017-18 wildfires that killed five people, destroyed nearly 3,000 structures and consumed more than 385,000 acres, the California Public Utilities Commission announced Thursday.

The sum represents penalties and disallowances approved by the CPUC on Thursday, including a $110 million penalty to be paid by SCE shareholders into California's General Fund, a $375 million permanent disallowance for cost recovery and $65 million in shareholder funds to be contributed to safety measures. The permanent disallowance prevents the utility from passing on related costs to its customers.

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The settlement with the CPUC's Safety and Enforcement Division is in response to multiple violations of regulations that govern the design, construction, and maintenance of overhead electrical lines and communications facilities.

The violations were identified during investigations into the 2018 Woolsey Fire, which began in Ventura County and ripped through Malibu, as well as the Rye Fire in Santa Clarita, the Meyers Fire in San Bernardino, the Thomas Fire in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties and the Liberty Fire in Murrieta, all of which ignited in December 2017.

Settlement funds will be used to strengthen SCE's electric system, fund community engagement activities and invest in safety studies.