Wednesday, 26 June, 2019

PG&E to file for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Employees of Pacific Gas & Electric work in the aftermath of the Camp Fire in Paradise PG&E Bankruptcy Filing Looming
Russell Knight | 14 January, 2019, 19:12

In November, the most deadly fire in Californian history began in the town of Paradise, killing 86 people.

Board Chairman Richard Kelly said "a Chapter 11 reorganization for both the utility and PG&E Corporation represents the only viable option to address the company's responsibilities to its stakeholders".

"It is clear that a solution is needed that enables the continued safe delivery of natural gas and electric service to our customers and supports the orderly, fair and expeditious resolution of PG&E's potential liabilities resulting from the recent wildfires". A notice does not necessarily mean that PG&E is filing for Chapter 11 protection, but signals that the utility may be considering bankruptcy as a way of coping with an estimated $30 billion in liabilities for fires that took place in 2017 and 2018. Shares were trading at almost $50 before the company disclosed that a faulty transmission tower may have caused the Camp Fire.

Fire officials have not yet officially said what caused the blaze, but have focused on power equipment.

The full press release from PG&E can be found on its website.

Advisers said they expect it may take up to two years for the company to emerge from bankruptcy.

The company has engaged in discussions with potential lenders with respect to Debtor-in-Possession ("DIP") financing.

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A spokesperson for the governing Social Democrats said the ethnic Albanian legislators also agreed to back the deal. Zaev said on January 12 that the lawmakers had "made history", adding: "I know how hard that was".

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While her private secretary, Samantha Cohen, is also expected to leave later this year after 17 years of working for the British Royals.

The departure of Williams - one of the world's most powerful women in business - thins the ranks of the roughly two dozen women running S&P 500 companies.

Pacific Gas & Electric announced Sunday evening that CEO Geisha Williams will step down amid the fallout from a spate of deadly wildfires that may have brought the California utility to the brink of bankruptcy.

Gov. Gavin Newsom was quick to respond to the bankruptcy announcment, issuing a statement early Monday. PG&E kept the lights on during the three years it spent in Chapter 11 between 2001 and 2004, when it was clobbered by rising power costs during the energy crisis. Williams called the doctrine bad public policy that made utilities the default insurer in the state.

While state lawmakers rejected PG&E's request to change wildfire liability law, they did pass legislation in August that will help PG&E pay for lawsuits arising from the wine country fires.

PG&E faces widespread litigation, government investigations and liabilities that could potentially reach $30 billion, according to the company, accounting for damage from fires past year and in 2017.

-With assistance from David R. Baker and Peter Blumberg.

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