Utility Liablity Cost Recovery Opposition

In 2009, California electrical utilities PG&E, SCE and SDG&E proposed creating a formal mechanism through which they could recover liability losses from wildland fires from ratepayers regardless of whether or not they were responsible for starting the fires. MGRA and other parties opposed this proposal, noting that it creates a moral hazard by reducing incentive for safe operation.


The WEBA proposal was rejected by the CPUC in December 2013, based in part upon testimony provided by the M-bar Technologies and Consulting expert, Dr. Joseph Mitchell.

MGRA testimony (pdf)
served September 11, 2011


CPUC decision denying WEBA application (pdf)

issued December 28, 2013


In 2013, SDG&E came back with a second application, WEMA, to collect $293 million in liability losses due to the 2007 fires. Testimony from Dr. Joseph Mitchell on behalf of MGRA demonstrated that the utility's infrastructure was not being built to handle the wind loads typical of its service area.  The utility's application was ultimately rejected due to arguments made by opposing CPUC intervenors. SDG&E appeals failed, ultimately up to the US Supreme Court, which refused to hear their case in 2019.