Jun 16, 2020 - Energy & Environment

PG&E pleads guilty to manslaughter for role in 2018 fire

A fire.
A search and rescue team inspects an area taped for possible human remains as they comb through Paradise Gardens, which was destroyed by the Camp Fire in 2018 in Paradise, California. Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California utility PG&E admitted to criminal negligence on Tuesday, pleading guilty to 84 felony counts of involuntary manslaughter for its role in starting the 2018 Camp Fire.

The big picture: The plea "reflects the bankrupt utility taking responsibility for the deadliest corporate crime in U.S. history," Bloomberg Law writes. The fire, ignited by PG&E equipment, killed 84 people. The company is also pleading guilty to a count of unlawfully causing a fire.

Background: PG&E already agreed to pay more than $25 billion to settle claims from victims, insurers and local governments, per Bloomberg, and was fined $1.9 billion by the California Public Utilities Commission.

What to watch: People who lost family and property in the fire are expected to testify to the county beginning Wednesday. The judge will then impose a sentence on the utility.

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