PG&E Stock Plummets 21-Percent Amid Investors Concerns of Possible Bankruptcy

08 January, 2019, 05:32 | Author: Brooke Harris
  • Camp Fire: PG&E gets sued by insurance companies

National Public Radio, citing an anonymous company official and a former employee, reported that PG&E is exploring selling off its natural gas division - a major part of the company - to set up a fund for potential wildfire claims. PG&E had reported equipment problems near the origin of the fire around the time it began.

Reports that PG&E Corp.is weighing bankruptcy to overcome its potential liabilities from wildfires is drawing both concern and skepticism as California lawmakers mull a potential bailout for the embattled utility.

The parent company of California's largest utility said Friday it is assessing its finances and structure in its effort to confront a growing liability threat from wildfires blamed on the company.

Shares were down more than 18 percent in premarket trading. The company is weighing using proceeds from the unit's sale to address death and injury claims arising from the recent wildfires, this source said.

The Camp Fire broke out on the morning of November 8 near the mountain community of Paradise, sweeping through the town and killing at least 86 people, in the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in state history.

PG&E could be on the hook for tens of billions of dollars for its potential role in California's devastating Camp Fire past year - the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in the state's history. California policymakers had approved a bill that let utilities pass on to customers some costs related to wildfires, according to Moody's.

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FILE - Firefighter Jose Corona sprays water as flames from the Camp Fire consume a home in Magalia, California, Nov. 9, 2018. But the insurance companies are laying the blame squarely on Pacific Gas and Electric Co., arguing the company did a poor job of maintaining its power lines, towers and other equipment.

PG&E added that it has formed a special board committee that includes independent experts to advise on wildfire safety best practices.

"Last year, they were able to fool the legislature with the narrative of bankruptcy or bailout, and the legislature gave them a bailout", said Hill, who represents the Bay Area city where a PG&E gas pipeline exploded in 2010, killing eight.

The utility has borrowed more than $3 billion under credit lines available to it, a move companies in financial distress will often make to shore up cash.

The fire broke out on the morning of November 8 near the Northern California mountain community of Paradise, sweeping through the town and killing at least 86 people in the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in state history. It emerged from bankruptcy in 2004.

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