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$21 billion utility wildfire victim fund will be established in California

Action News Now reporter Spencer Joseph looked into the new bill and its language after Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 1054 into law on Friday,

Posted: Jul 13, 2019 5:57 PM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law that would create a $21 billion dollar fund for wildfire victims.

Half of that money would come from customers and the other half from utilities like PG&E.

Action News Now reporter Spencer Joseph looked into the new bill and its language after Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 1054 into law on Friday morning. 

The legiislation will create a $21 billion dollar wildfire fund that will help utility companies pay victims of wildfires caused by their equipment. However, the bill would only allow companies to recover costs from wildfires after January 1, 2019.

While critics say this bill was rushed through and provides a bailout to these companies, Newsom praised it.  The governor said, "I am incredibly proud of the bipartisanship. We had several people from the other side of the isle." 

PG&E equipment has been blamed for causing nearly 20 wildfires in the last two years, with the worst one being the Camp Fire in Butte County.

Butte County resident Jessica Brown talked to Spencer, sharing her opinion.  She likes the idea "because someone has to compensate them."

AB 1054 goes beyond creating the fund by increasing safety regulations on utility companies. The goal is to make sure that equipment is not a danger to those around it.

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