Facing Wildfires, California OKs Plan to Shore Up Utilities

SACRAMENTO (AP) — California lawmakers have approved a multi-billion dollar plan meant to shore up the state’s major electric utilities in the face of another wildfire season.

The biggest power companies will have to spend at least $5 billion on safety improvements under the bill lawmakers sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday.

The measure would also create a fund of up to $21 billion to compensate victims of wildfires caused by utility equipment in certain circumstances. Survivors of recent fires say the measure will give them more leverage to get compensation from Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. despite it being in bankruptcy.

Some lawmakers raised concerns about how quickly the legislation moved.

Newsom wanted it on his desk before lawmakers adjourned for a monthlong recess on Friday.

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