Southern California Edison Co. agreed Monday to pay $37 million to resolve concerns about three overloaded utility poles that sparked the 2007 Malibu Canyon fire, a settlement that would bring the total for the destructive fire to more than $60 million.
Under the agreement, the utility giant would admit that it violated the law by not taking prompt action to prevent a telecommunications company from attaching fiber-optic cable to jointly owned poles in Malibu Canyon. Edison also would acknowledge that a letter it sent to the Public Utilities Commission after the fire did not identify pole overloading and termite damage as possible contributing factors in the pole failures.
The proposed settlement with the California Public Utilities Commission staff represents the third, final and largest agreement regarding the fire. All told, the settlements would bring in $63.5 million, of which $35.4 million would go to the state's general fund and $28.1 million would be spent on pole inspections and remediations in Malibu Canyon and environs. The Edison deal is still subject to approval by the full utilities panel.
When Santa Ana winds swept through the canyon Oct. 21, 2007, three utility poles next to Malibu Canyon Road toppled and ignited the fire. The blaze burned 3,836 acres and destroyed or damaged dozens of structures and vehicles. The poles were jointly owned by Edison, AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless and NextG Networks of California.