10,000 people impacted by Victoria’s worst natural disaster launched a $1 billion class action against SP AusNet (ASX:SPN) in the Victorian Supreme Court yesterday.
The plaintiffs claim the power infrastructure company failed to properly maintain its network and is responsible for the Kilmore East fire which took 119 lives and more than 1,200 homes and properties in 2009.
The company allegedly breached a duty of care when it ignored warnings of extreme weather and failed to prevent an aging and corroded power line from collapsing on Black Saturday.
SP AusNet says it remains confident its practises and procedures did not cause or contribute to the bushfire and has indicated it will argue the damage to the line was caused by lightning which could not have been detected. The case is expected to continue over this year.
SP AusNet delivered a net profit of $255 million in the 2012 financial year.