PG&E admits involuntary manslaughter in dozens of wildfire deaths

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FILE – In this Nov. 9, 2018, file photo, smoke billows around power transmission lines as the Camp Fire burns in Big Bend, Calif. Experts say it’s hard to know whether keeping millions of Californians in the dark prevented a catastrophic wildfire. The question takes on new significance after authorities said Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, that a man in his 60s who relied on oxygen died 12 minutes after losing electricity in a planned outage by Pacific Gas & Electric Co., east of Sacramento. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Pacific Gas & Electric said Monday it will plead guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the 2018 fire in Northern California that killed 84 people and decimated three towns.

The utility said in a statement will also admit to a single count of unlawfully starting a fire.

Under a plea agreement with the Butte County district attorney’s office, PG&E will pay the maximum fine of about $4 million.

The company has agreed to fund efforts to restore access to water for the next five years for residents impacted by the loss of a canal destroyed by the fire.

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