Bloomberg Reports: PG&E Pleads Guilty to 84 Counts of Involuntary Manslaughter
Deadliest Corporate Crime in U.S. History
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We’ve written about these deadly fires before:
- Monday Accident & Lessons Learned: Wildfire Root Cause Analysis – Was an Equipment Failure the Cause of the Camp Fire that Killed 85 People?
- Update: WSJ Reports PG&E Knew Old, Outdated Lines Could Cause Wildfires
- What Does an Accident Cost? After $1.6 Billion in Sanctions, PG&E Faces More Fines
“This was extraordinarily difficult for PG&E to swallow,” Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey, who investigated the fire and negotiated the plea, said in an interview. For the company it amounts to conceding that “the evidence will show beyond a reasonable doubt that we killed 84 people and burned down a town by a criminally reckless fire,” he said.
The utility already has agreed to settle claims from insurers, individual fire victims and local government agencies for more than $25 billion. It also received a $1.9 billion penalty from the California Public Utilities Commission. The criminal case is the company’s last unfinished business as it races to exit from bankruptcy in the wake of a series of wildfires in recent years.
Those who lost homes and loved ones were happy that PG&E admitted their guilt but most were unhappy with the fine ($4,000,000).
What do you think? Is management committed to better performance? Will they be improving their root cause analysis and corrective actions to prevent future maintenance issues?
Here is a New York Times interactive article about the fires and PG&E: