Calif. Agency Calls For $99M Fine In Malibu Fire

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A state safety agency is recommending $99.2 million in fines against Southern California Edison and four cellphone companies for overloading power poles and causing a Oct. 2007 Malibu fire that destroyed 14 structures.

The Consumer Protection and Safety Division said in a filing Friday that Edison and NextG Networks of California, Sprint Telephony, AT&T Mobility and Verizon Wireless each committed multiple safety violations.

The companies are accused of overloading power poles with wires and equipment, causing them to be toppled by winds in Malibu Canyon and sparking the fire.

Edison spokeswoman Lauren Bartlett says the utility believes the penalties are not supported by evidence and are excessive.

The utility says public safety is a matter of utmost importance.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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