US, Oregon governments may sue PacifiCorp for $1B over 2020 wildfire costs

By Josh Funk
Associated Press in Jefferson Public Radio
February 27, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

The U.S. government is threatening to sue the owner of Portland-based Pacific Power to recover nearly $1 billion in costs related to the 2020 wildfires in Southern Oregon and northern California, though the company is trying to negotiate a settlement. The potential lawsuits were disclosed in an annual report filed by PacifiCorp’s Iowa-based parent company, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, on Monday. This new liability comes after the utility already agreed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in lawsuits related to the fires. …The fires were among the worst natural disasters in Oregon’s history. They killed nine people, burned more than 1,875 square miles (4,856 square kilometers) and destroyed upward of 5,000 homes and other structures. The Oregon lawsuits say PacifiCorp negligently failed to shut off power to its customers during a windstorm over Labor Day weekend in 2020, despite warnings from state leaders and top fire officials, and that its power lines caused multiple blazes.

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