SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A U.S. bankruptcy court judge has rejected Pacific Gas & Electric’s latest attempt to change a California law that requires utilities to pay for the devastation from wildfires ignited by their equipment.
The decision issued Wednesday by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali preserves a long-standing principle known as “inverse condemnation.”
The law helped drive the nation’s largest utility into bankruptcy protection 10 months ago as it faced at least $20 billion in losses stemming from a series of deadly wildfires in 2017 and 2018.
The ruling is a victory for thousands of people who lost their homes and loved ones in the fires.
Insurers that have already paid roughly $16 billion to their policyholders also counted on the law to help them recoup part of their losses.