In Washington State, a utility “can burn down your house and get away with it,” according to an article in the Seattle Times. That’s because unlike California, Washington does not hold utilities responsible for wildfires that they spark under the doctrine of inverse condemnation. Rather, it leaves it to regulators to control the conduct of utilities.
If PG&E did not have to pay for the wildfire they would have no impetus to clean up their act,” said Mike Danko, a California trial lawyer who represented victims of a PG&E gas explosion and power line wildfire. “The only way to control their conduct is not through regulation, it is by taking the profit out of wrongdoing.”
In Washington, no such law exists. Not only does the state’s commission have less enforcement muscle than California, legal remedies are more limited, Danko said.
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