Cox Communications is seeking to join in on a proceeding involving a San Diego utility and a government regulatory commission regarding a 2007 wildfire.
In fact, the cable company paid $444 million several years ago to settle its role in the Guejito fire. But the privately held MSO says it's been defamed in a proceeding involving the California Public Utilities Commission and San Diego Gas & Electric, and it wants to join the process so it can clear its name.
The story comes courtesy of The San Diego Union-Tribune.
On Oct. 21, 2007, three wildfires sparked and joined together, burning more than 1,100 rural San Diego-area homes and claiming two lives. State investigators determined that one of the fires was caused by a Cox cable and SDG&E wires arcing and igniting vegetation that was not properly cleared of an easement.
The utility paid more than $2 billion in settlements and other spending related to the fires without ever admitting to liability. Cox agreed to pay the utility $444 million to settle its end of the matter.
Now, SDG&E is in process with the California Public Utilities Commission, as the utility seeks permission to charge its customers $379 million in leftover expenses from the Witch, Guejito and Rice fires. In opening arguments, the utility accused Cox of not inspecting its cables. “There is no dispute that the Guejito Fire was caused by the fact that Cox’s lashing wire broke…” the utility argued.
Suffice it to say that Cox doesn’t like where SDG&E is going with its arguments and wants to join in the proceeding to state its side of the case.
“Cox seeks limited party status so that it may file a motion to strike certain false and defamatory statements that SDG&E included in its briefs in this proceeding stating that Cox’s actions indisputably caused the Guejito Fire and that Cox never inspected its facilities,” the cable company said in a filing to the regulatory commission.
“These false statements are not just injurious to Cox’s business reputation, they are also unfair to the commission’s decision-making process and to SDG&E ratepayers,” Cox added.