The utilities’ liability for California’s wildfire woes

When all the options are bad, choosing the least-bad option won’t make anybody happy.

That’s what’s likely to happen with a stack of proposed legislation to deal with liability for the catastrophic wildfires that have scorched hundreds of thousands of acres across California.

The state’s investor-owned utilities are lobbying for a change in the law that reduces their liability for fires caused by electrical equipment, like wires and transformers. Under a doctrine known as “inverse...

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