California struggles with costly wildfires, eyes risk pool
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California officials are struggling to find ways for homeowners to afford insurance in fire-prone areas and for utilities to survive devastating wildfires that threaten to worsen with climate change.
One potential option is a state catastrophe fund backed by tens of billions of dollars.
Massively expensive wildfires in 2017 and 2018 partly prompted the state’s largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric Corp., to file for bankruptcy in January. The fires prompted the creation of a five-member board that met Wednesday to discuss who should pay for damage from wildfires.
Board members have until July to make their recommendations.
Courts and regulators have piled the financial burden on utilities, leading Moody’s Investors Service to downgrade utilities’ credit ratings.
Moody’s says a state catastrophe fund may be the most likely remedy.