PG&E, Facing Wildfire Liabilities, Explores Bankruptcy Filing: Late Friday Report

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January 4, 2019


Utility giant Pacitic Gas & Electric is considering a bankruptcy filing, according to a late Friday report.

Reuters reports the company is considering the action because it could soon take a “significant financial charge” for the fourth quarter of 2018 related to liabilities from devastating and deadly California wildfires in 2016 and 2017, which may have been caused by sparks generated from PG&E transmission lines.

Should the blame — and financial burden — of the fires be laid on PG&E, it could set a precedent for liability among other utilities for future fires in other states, which could be a far-reaching legal problem for power companies operating in drought and other extreme conditions.

Reuters quotes unnamed sources as saying that, despite some hope that the California legislature will provide financial relief for the utility, such a possibility is far from certain “so bankruptcy preparations are being made.”