Southern California Edison agrees to $80 million settlement

The utility is settling a lawsuit over the 2017 Thomas Fire.

Federal prosecutors announced Monday that Southern California Edison will pay $80 million as part of a settlement over the 2017 Thomas Fire. 

Southern California Edison did not admit any wrongdoing or fault as part of the settlement. 


The backstory: The Thomas Fire started in December 2017 and burned 439 square miles throughout Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, ending up as the seventh-largest fire in California history. 

  • Southern California Edison equipment started the blaze, according to investigators. 

Driving the news: Federal prosecutors filed a lawsuit in 2020 seeking to recover costs and damages caused by the fire on public lands within the Los Padres National Forest.

  • This is not the first settlement for Edison regarding wildfires, as the utility also settled claims related to the Woolsey fire in 2018.
  • Southern California Edison estimates that the total expected losses for both the Thomas and Woolsey fires will exceed $4.5 billion.
  • Two years ago Pacific Gas and Electric agreed to a $117 million settlement over wildfires in Northern California. 

What they’re saying: “This record settlement provides significant compensation to taxpayers for the extensive costs of fighting the Thomas Fire and for the widespread damage to public lands,” said First Assistant United States Attorney Joseph T. McNally. “The United States Attorney’s Office will continue to aggressively pursue compensation from any entity that causes harm to our forests and other precious national resources.”

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