As the number and size of wildfires in California has grown in 2018, so has the potential for liability faced by public utilities. The existing liability standard potentially puts these companies at risk for all costs associated with the wildfires, even if they strictly adhere to safety policies.
This has made the topic “easily the most high-profile heavily lobbied topic of the summer in Sacramento,” reported the Los Angeles Times on Aug. 9, 2018, amidst a series of hearings being held by the California state legislature.
Featured on the front page of the Los Angeles Times, Munger, Tolles & Olson’s Henry Weissmann explained while testifying before the body that “[e]ven if the utilities take all those actions, and even if they are without fault, they could nonetheless be held liable.”
Mr. Weissmann is advising Southern California Edison (SCE) in developing legislative and regulatory strategies to navigate these issues.
Mr. Weissmann’s practice focuses on the energy industry and he has represented public utilities such as SCE for three decades.