City Attorney Mike Aguirre held a press conference this morning to give some more details about the city of San Diego’s lawsuit against San Diego Gas & Electric.

At the heart of the lawsuit is the claim that SDG&E was negligent in inspecting and managing its transmission equipment. That negligence led to a malfunction of the equipment, which started two major wildfires, Aguirre’s complaint claims.

Aguirre said his aims for the lawsuit are two-fold.

First, he said he wants to reclaim damages from SDG&E for costs the city incurred during last October’s wildfires, including damage to city property and costs incurred fighting the fires. He estimated those costs at “more than tens of millions of dollars.”

Second, Aguirre said he hopes the suit will force the company to properly maintain its equipment in the future, and will force SDG&E to implement new safety measures in its transmission network.

“We would like to have an assurance that if any power line goes down, SDG&E has the ability to turn off that power line,” Aguirre said.

Aguirre said his investigators have been working on building the case against SDG&E for months. Don McGrath, Aguirre’s No. 2, who is working on the litigation, said his investigators have lots of photographs that they took at SDG&E substations that will help prove the case.

McGrath also said he will be going in front of the City Council next week to ask for permission to bring on outside counsel in the case. I put in a call to SDG&E but haven’t heard back yet.


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