Placer County Water Agency files lawsuit against PG&E for Mosquito Fire damages | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Placer County Water Agency files lawsuit against PG&E for Mosquito Fire damages

Placer County Water Agency submitted this photo in the lawsuit stating the Mosquito Fire was caused by a defect or a malfunction with PG&E’s electrical transmission facilities and equipment.
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TAHOE CITY, Calif. — A Placer County agency has filed a lawsuit against Pacific Gas & Electric Company from damages related to the Mosquito Fire, California’s largest wildfire of 2022.

Placer County Water Agency filed the suit on Tuesday, Dec. 20, in Superior Court seeking unspecified damages but noted that it lost tens of millions of dollars in power sales alone from the blaze that began on Sept. 6 and burned about 77,000 acres and destroyed 78 structures across the Tahoe and Eldorado National Forests.

In a news release, the agency said the Mosquito Fire damaged electricity transmission infrastructure and halted energy production along the Middle Fork American River Project (Middle Fork Project), a dual-purpose water supply and hydroelectric energy project owned and operated by PCWA. 



According to the suit, the ultimate amount of damages sought by PCWA is undetermined, but the fire caused the agency to lose tens of millions of dollars in power sales alone. The suit said the fire that burned for about a month “was caused by a defect or a malfunction with PG&E’s electrical transmission facilities and equipment. The fire started when PG&E’s equipment failed, and contacted (or caused sparks to contact) and ignited surrounding vegetation.”

The agency submitted a photo saying it was the fire moments after it started underneath and near power lines.



“The work to recover from the Mosquito Fire’s impacts will be significant, long-term and costly,” said PCWA General Manager Andy Fecko in the release. “Our Board is committed to taking every measure possible to protect the interests of our citizens and the investments they have made in our infrastructure. Today’s filing is an important step in fulfilling our responsibility to those we serve and ensuring that we are in a position to recover damages associated with the Mosquito Fire as fully and quickly as possible.”  

PCWA’s Middle Fork Project is California’s eighth largest public power project, providing water supplies, hydroelectric energy, public recreational opportunities, and environmental benefits in the American River watershed, the release said. The powerhouses are capable of generating up to one million megawatt hours of clean energy per year for California’s grid and were providing critical supplies during California’s record-breaking heat wave in late August and early September. These clean energy supplies are also important in winter months when sources such as solar are limited. 

PCWA Board Chairman Robert Dugan said, “PCWA’s Middle Fork Project is a critical asset.  In addition to the financial burden of mitigating Mosquito Fire impacts, ultimately, the people of Placer County are suffering financial losses with the Middle Fork Project still disconnected. And as a result, California is missing a critical source of clean energy.”  

In an email to the Tribune, PG&E said the company recognizes the impact the Mosquito Fire had on the community and the fire’s official cause is still being investigated.

“PG&E filed an Electric Incident Report with the California Public Utilities Commission in September,” said PG&E spokesperson James Noonan. “There has been no official determination of cause of the Mosquito Fire and the U.S. Forest Service’s investigation is ongoing. We are cooperating fully with this effort. We remain focused on reducing wildfire risk across our service area and making our electric system more resilient to the climate-driven challenges we all face in California.  

The lawsuit is available at https://docs.pcwa.net/mosquito-fire-complaint.


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