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Bill to help California utility pay wildfire claims stalls

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A bill to let a troubled California utility borrow money against its future profits to pay victims of wildfires started by its equipment will not pass this year.

Some shareholders for Pacific Gas & Electric had been pushing the bill as a way to help the utility cover its estimated $30 billion worth of damages from a series of devastating wildfires in recent years, including one that killed 86 people last year and mostly destroyed the town of Paradise.

Republican Assemblyman Chad Mayes, the bill’s author, said Friday there isn’t enough time left before lawmakers adjourn next week to have “proper debate.” He says he plans to try again next year.

PG&E has filed for bankruptcy and shareholders are in a battle with bondholders over who will control the company.

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