by Brandon Butler
PG&E Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter 6/19/2020

Kate Cox at Ars Technica:

California utility firm Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges that it was responsible for the deaths of more than 80 people in a massive 2018 wildfire caused by its equipment.

The fire, known as the Camp Fire, began in November 2018 when two PG&E power lines came into contact with nearby dry brush, sparking flames. Eighty-five people died in the fire, which also destroyed 18,800 structures.

Their punishment?

A federal judge on Tuesday approved the company’s $59 billion reorganization plan. That plan includes settlements with insurers and local governments as well as $13.5 billion in settlements to victims of wildfires for which PG&E was responsible. Half of the settlements to individuals, however, will be paid in company shares instead of cash, after which victims would own almost 21 percent of the company. That could expose survivors to future liability, The Wall Street Journal reports, if the company once again ends up facing criminal or regulatory penalties for failing to make good on safety commitments.

That’ll teach ‘em.