SCE agrees to $2.2 billion payout to settle wildfire claims


Southern California Edison agreed to pay $2.2 billion within the next 90 days to settle insurance claims stemming from the 2018 Woolsey Fire.

The utility also reached settlements with around 1,000 plaintiffs in litigation arising from the 2017/2018 Wildfire/Mudslide Events, which include the Woolsey Fire, the 2017 Thomas and Koenigstein fires, and the 2018 Montecito Mudslides.

The utility offered no admission of wrongdoing or liability in reaching the settlements.

In 2019, the utility said that it may have been responsible for starting the Woolsey Fire. That statement followed an investigation by fire officials.

The fire destroyed more than 1,600 structures, injured three firefighters, and killed three people as it burned near Malibu. It became one of the most destructive fires in the state, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

SCE estimates that potential losses for remaining claims could reach $4.6 billion and does not include any potential fines and penalties. The amount will be reduced by the $2.2 billion paid under terms of the insurance settlement.

SCE’s parent company, Edison International, said last year that it anticipates issuing around $1 billion of equity to invest in SCE to enable the utility to debt-finance claims payments and maintain investment-grade credit ratings.

The utility also will seek to recover uninsured costs resulting from the disasters through electric rates. Recovery is subject to regulatory approval.

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