(Photo of site of Hawaiian Village Apartments, Ventura, CA)
Make this call immediately!
California investor-owned utilities, including Southern California Edison, are working at the State Capitol to change California’s liability laws to shield themselves from financial liability if they are found responsible for the devastating recent fires in the State, including the Thomas Fire and the mudslides it caused. Their proposed legislation, AB 33, has already passed the CA Assembly and is heading into its final state Senate votes.
How are they doing this?
Along with Governor Brown, PG&E and SCE are lobbying Sacramento to change California’s application of inverse condemnation law to investor-owned utilities (IOUs) like themselves. They are also trying to have California pass a bond measure that would require ratepayers to reimburse the bonds used to finance wildfire settlements.
What is “inverse condemnation”?
First, let’s start with a term most of us already know – “Eminent Domain”, where the government has the power to force the sale of private property for a public project or use provided that the owner is paid just conpensation. Governments with eminent domain power can sue defendants to force “direct condemnation“.”Inverse condemnation” switches the parties around, with the property owner suing the government for a taking of private property without eminent domain procedures and without payment of compensation. This can included temporary taking/occupation such as flooding.