05/31/2023 | News release | Distributed by Public on 05/31/2023 12:49
Agreement Resolves Legal Proceeding in 2020 Zogg Fire
PG&E announced today (May 31), that it reached an agreement with the Shasta County District Attorney under which criminal charges arising from the 2020 Zogg Fire will be dismissed.
In its settlement agreement with the District Attorney's Office, which is subject to court approval, PG&E has committed to continue several initiatives to further reduce the risk of wildfires, and to fund $45 million in contributions to numerous organizations dedicated to rebuilding and assisting Shasta County communities.
PG&E already has settled civil claims with individuals, families, organizations and Shasta County to provide compensation for damages from the Zogg Fire, which CAL FIRE determined was caused by a tree falling on a PG&E powerline.
Today's agreement follows a Superior Court order dismissing over half of the 31 original criminal charges and a second, later, ruling tentatively dismissing all remaining felony charges. The court's tentative order noted there were multiple inspections in the area before the fire, that there was no evidence that PG&E's multiple inspections fell below the industry standard of care, and there also was no evidence that a risk involving the tree was visible before the fire.
"The agreement reflects our continuing commitment to making it right and making it safe. We stand behind our thousands of trained and experienced coworkers and contractors working every day to keep Californians safe. We feel strongly that those good-faith judgments are not criminal," said Patti Poppe, Chief Executive Officer of PG&E Corporation.
Poppe continued: "I'm grateful that the Shasta County District Attorney has agreed to work with us to make her community safer, and we look forward to the relationship this agreement creates."
Highlights of commitments PG&E is making in Shasta County include:
Payments to community and nonprofit organizations
In addition, PG&E will pay a $5 million civil penalty to Shasta County. The financial commitments stipulated in the agreement total $50 million, and PG&E will not seek cost recovery from customers.
PG&E's wildfire safety commitments across its service area are outlined in its 2023-2025 Wildfire Mitigation Plan, which the company submitted to the California Office of Energy Infrastructure Safety on March 27, 2023. More information about this plan and PG&E's work to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire is available here.