• PG&E pleads guilty to manslaughter of 84 people in Californian wildfires

    Date posted:

    • Post Author

      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

The Californian power utility Pacific Gas & Electric has pleaded guilty to the involuntary manslaughter of 84 people during the November 2018 wildfire that destroyed the northern California town of Paradise. PG&E CEO Bill Johnson entered the guilty plea on the behalf of the company at the County of Butte Superior Court of California, saying “our equipment started that fire” and apologizing to the victims’ families. As the Guardian newspaper reports, PG&E appeared in court after a plea deal, with Judge Michael Deems reading the name of each victim aloud in the courtroom. The company is currently trying to emerge from a period of bankruptcy, though it has agreed to pay US$25.5 billion for losses from the 2018 fire and other blazes in 2017 blamed on its deteriorating equipment. The case is the clearest imaginable demonstration of the tragic consequences of poor maintenance practices.