PG&E to file for bankruptcy due to California wildfires
PG&E Corp. plans to file for bankruptcy protection by the end of the month as it faces more than $30 billion in potential liability costs related to its role in sparking deadly California wildfires.
California’s largest utility said Monday that it intends to file for Chapter 11 on or about Jan. 29, capping a tumultuous 12 hours for the company, which announced Sunday evening that Chief Executive Geisha Williams was stepping down amid the crisis. John Simon, the company’s general counsel, was made interim CEO until a successor is found.
Although California lawmakers and regulators have been debating steps to help rescue the company, it ultimately concluded that state assistance would take years, too long to avoid a bankruptcy proceeding, PG&E PCG, -47.47% said in a securities filing.
PG&E said both the parent company and its main unit, Pacific Gas and Electric Co., which delivers natural gas and electricity to 16 million Californians, would file for a voluntary reorganization under Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. The company was required by state law to provide a 15-day notice of bankruptcy. It said delivery of gas and electricity to its customers wouldn’t be impacted by the bankruptcy.
California fire investigators have determined that the utility’s power lines sparked 18 wildfires in October 2017 that burned nearly 200,000 acres, destroyed 3,256 structures and killed 22 people.
An expanded version of this article appears at WSJ.com
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