Pacific Gas and Electric Company, the utility that has acknowledged responsibility for the “Camp Fire” that devastated swaths of the California in 2018, has agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges for causing the disaster.
The company, typically referred to as PG&E, announced Monday that it would plead guilty to 84 state counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of unlawfully starting a fire.
The utility will pay a fine of about $4 million, which includes covering the government’s legal costs on the investigation.
The company will also fund “efforts to restore access to water for the next five years for residents impacted by the loss of the Miocene Canal, which was destroyed by the fire,” PG&E said in a statement.
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PG&E, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after the disaster, must secure approval for the plea from a county court and a federal bankruptcy judge.
The fire destroyed the towns of Paradise and Concow, did damage to Magalia and other parts of Butte County in California, and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses. At least 84 people were killed.
PG&E has acknowledged that its equipment started the fire.
“With this plea agreement we accept responsibility for our role in the fire,” PG&E CEO Bill Johnson said in a statement. “We cannot change the devastation or ever forget the loss of life that occurred. All of us at PG&E deeply regret this tragedy and the company’s part in it.”
The company has already agreed to settlements worth about $25.5 billion for fire victims from incidents in 2015, 2017 and 2018
Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.