The Calaveras County Water District (CCWD) has accepted a $3 million settlement from Pacific Gas & Electric for its claims as a result of the 2015 Butte Fire, CCWD officials told the Enterprise Tuesday.
The water district initially requested an amount of $6 million, according to CCWD Manager of External Affairs, Conservation and Grants Joel Metzger.
“While this settlement is less than the amount originally sought by the District, it is a positive result for CCWD and the community as a whole,” Metzger said.
The payout is part of a $1 billion settlement to be paid to 14 public entities with various claims from the 2015 Butte Fire, the 2017 North Bay Fires and the 2018 Camp Fire.
A federal bankruptcy judge will have to approve the settlement offer as a part of the utility’s reorganization plan to be filed by PG&E in its pending Chapter 11 case.
The utility giant filed for bankruptcy protection on Jan. 29, faced with billions of dollars in wildfire litigation.
According to Metzger, the $3 million amount will not have any direct impact on CCWD water rates in the near term.
"Overall, it’s a fairly small impact to the District’s budget, but the District is committed to keeping rates as low as possible and every bit helps," Metzger said.
If approved through PG&E’s bankruptcy exit proceedings, the water district intends to utilize “a large portion” of the settlement to reimburse its losses incurred through the Butte Fire, including the construction and operation of the Jenny Lind Water Treatment Plant Pretreatment Facility, according to Metzger.