(KRON) — Pacific Gas and Electric Company has reached a multi-million dollar settlement with the Shasta County District Attorney’s Office in connection to the 2020 Zogg Fire.
CalFire ultimately determined that the Zogg Fire was caused by a tree that fell onto a PG&E powerline. As a part of the settlement, the Superior Court dismissed more than half of the original 31 criminal charges against the company, and a later ruling from the judge tentatively dismissed the remaining felony charges.
PG&E, citing the court order, states that there were several inspections near the area before the fire, and there was no evidence which showed PG&E’s efforts “fell below the industry standard of care.” The inspections did not lead anyone to believe that the tree was a risk, PG&E said.
The settlement, which still has to be approved by the court, states that PG&E would commit $45 million to various organizations that are focused on rebuilding and assisting Shasta County communities.
PG&E listed the commitments the company has made to Shasta County:
- Local Vegetation Management: Implementing new systems for vegetation management work within High Fire-Risk Areas in Shasta County.
- Additional Wildfire Safety: Additional commitments relating to wildfire safety include installation of line sensor devices that improve the ability to locate faults on circuits, completing an aerial LiDAR survey, installation of new weather stations, and adding artificial intelligence-based technology to existing wildfire cameras.
- Quarterly Meetings: PG&E and the Shasta County District Attorney’s Office will meet quarterly to discuss ongoing wildfire safety measures in Shasta County.
- Monitor: These commitments and others will be subject to a five-year monitorship in Shasta County. The Monitor will be independent of PG&E and will regularly report to the Shasta District Attorney on the company’s progress.
Payments to Community and Nonprofit Organizations
- As part of PG&E’s commitment to work with local organizations and communities, most of the $45 million that PG&E will pay as part of the settlement will go to local fire departments and districts, law enforcement, and community and nonprofit organizations to rebuild and strengthen the communities affected by the Zogg Fire and to honor the victims.
PG&E stated it will also pay a $5 million civil penalty directly to Shasta County. The company will not seek any cost recovery from customers, the PG&E said.