San Diego

SDG&E Pushing For Customers to Pay for 2007 Wildfires

Nearly a decade after wildfires caused by downed or arcing power lines devastated parts of San Diego County in 2007, victims are still fighting to hold San Diego Gas & Electric accountable.

In 2007, the Witch, Guejito and Rice fires destroyed more than 1,300 homes in the county and killed two people.

Thursday, SDG&E asked the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to grant their request to pass their costs for the wildfires along to customers. 

"If there's no finding of fault, ever, then they'll never be held accountable for having started the fires, and that's what we're pushing for," said Sally Crosno, a Witch Fire victim.

Crosno also attending a meeting with the commission Thursday. She said her Rancho Bernardo home was destroyed in the Witch Fire she is still in temporary housing.

Although SDG&E has not admitted any liability in the wildfires, the company has paid more than $2 billion in settlements and other costs.

Last month, the CPUC rejected SDG&E's request to pass along costs to customers. But according to a company representative, the CPUC had their facts wrong.

"While it may be tempting for people who don't know a lot about this case to think your facilities were involved in these fires, you must have done something wrong--in fact, all three fires occurred because of circumstances beyond our control," said Chris Lyons, Senior Counsel for SDG&E.

SDG&E says the Witch Fire was caused by unprecedented winds and the Guejito Fire was started by a branch that fell and knocked down a power line. The Rice Fire was due to a third-party facility that contacted their lines.

There was no action taken regarding SDG&E's request Thursday. The vote has been postponed until Oct. 12, at the CPUC meeting in San Francisco

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