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California utility firm suspected of starting deadly wildfires goes bankrupt

Source(s):  Guardian, the (UK)

By Vivian Ho

The utility company that services more than a third of California announced Monday it plans to file for bankruptcy by the end of the month. Several deadly wildfires believed to have been caused by the company left it with potential liabilities of at least $30bn.

[...]

[Pacific Gas and Electric], which serves provides gas and electricity to 16 million Californians, is currently under investigation for its role in November’s Camp fire, the deadliest wildfire in the state’s history.

The company has been found responsible for several other disasters in recent years, including the 2017 North Bay fires, which killed 43 people and destroyed more than 14,700 homes, the 2015 Butte fire, which killed two people and destroyed almost 900 structures, and a a 2010 gas line explosion in San Bruno that ripped through an entire neighborhood, killing eight and injuring 58 people. PG&E was fined $1.6bn for the San Bruno explosion and a federal jury found the company guilty of six felony charges, ordering it to pay $3m in fines.

[...]

Monday’s moves come during a period of intense disruption for the company. S&P Global Ratings and Moody’s Investors Services cut PG&E’s credit grades to junk status, down from investment-grade level, last week. The federal judge overseeing the utility after the 2010 San Bruno explosion also moved to order the company to reinspect its grid and “remove or trim all trees” that could fall on power lines ahead of next year’s fire season. And on Sunday, PG&E’s chief executive Geisha Williams announced her resignation. Williams is set to receive a severance payment of about $2.5m, as well as accrued pension benefits, “the same as any employee of the company”, said Matt Nauman, a PG&E spokesman.

[...]



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  • Publication date 14 Jan 2019

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