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PG&E, utility tied to wildfires, will file for bankruptcy

Pacific Gas and Electric, facing billions of dollars in claims over the deadly 2018 Camp Fire, is headed to bankruptcy court.PG&E, the state's largest...

Posted: Jan 14, 2019 12:14 PM

Pacific Gas and Electric, facing billions of dollars in claims over the deadly 2018 Camp Fire, is headed to bankruptcy court.

PG&E, the state's largest utility, said Monday it will file for bankruptcy on January 29, after a 15-day waiting period required by California law. It needs to use the bankruptcy process, which will allow it to shed some of its debt, to pay for damages and stay in business to provide gas and electric service to its customers.

Shares of PG&E (PCG) plunged 48% when the market opened Monday.

The company, in a public filing, cited at least $7 billion in claims from the Camp Fire. The wildfire caused 86 deaths and destroyed 14,000 homes, along with more than 500 businesses and 4,300 other buildings.

It is believed the fire was started when a PG&E power line came in contact with nearby trees. PG&E reported "an outage" on a transmission line in the area where the blaze began, about 15 minutes before it started. Within the massive burn area, PG&E found power equipment and a fallen power pole riddled with bullet holes, according to a letter it sent to regulators. The company also reported that it found a downed line with tree branches on it.

In addition, a series of wildfires in 2017, many of which were also blamed on PG&E, caused $10 billion in damages and 44 deaths. In 11 of those fires, state investigators found the company violated codes regarding brush clearance near its power lines or had made related violations.

"The people affected by the devastating Northern California wildfires are our customers, our neighbors and our friends, and we understand the profound impact the fires have had on our communities and the need for PG&E to continue enhancing our wildfire mitigation efforts," said John Simon, who was named interim CEO on Sunday, in a statement. "We remain committed to helping them through the recovery and rebuilding process. We believe a court-supervised [bankruptcy] process ...will best enable PG&E to resolve its potential liabilities in an orderly, fair and expeditious fashion."

PG&E said in a company filing Monday that it has only about $1.5 billion in cash and cash equivalents on hand. It said it believes bankruptcy is in the best interests of not just wildfire claimants but also other creditors, its shareholders and customers.

Shareholders are generally wiped out in the bankruptcy process. Shares of PG&E were already down 63% since the start of the Camp Fire.

On Sunday night the company reported that CEO Geisha Williams, who had been in the job less than 11 months, has stepped down. The company said it would look to hire a new chief executive with "extensive operational and safety expertise."

Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the length of the time PG&E must wait before filing for bankruptcy.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 775686

Reported Deaths: 14025
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1066871814
Lake572681031
Allen43500701
Hamilton37653427
St. Joseph37508568
Elkhart29882471
Tippecanoe23732232
Vanderburgh23634405
Porter19690327
Johnson19020394
Hendricks18271323
Clark13730199
Madison13719348
Vigo12949256
Monroe12691180
LaPorte12645225
Delaware11218198
Howard10832237
Kosciusko9851124
Hancock8855150
Bartholomew8343157
Warrick8216157
Floyd8128183
Grant7457181
Boone7289105
Wayne7273201
Morgan6988143
Marshall6376117
Dubois6327118
Cass6130112
Noble607391
Dearborn605878
Henry6001111
Jackson520977
Shelby514898
Lawrence5020128
Gibson471697
Montgomery464792
Clinton462755
DeKalb461485
Harrison459277
Huntington429082
Whitley421045
Steuben414561
Miami411573
Jasper403957
Knox397291
Putnam388762
Wabash373884
Adams358956
Ripley354571
Jefferson351487
White341854
Daviess3110100
Wells305981
Greene298485
Decatur294393
Posey288235
Fayette287764
Scott285458
LaGrange278873
Clay277649
Washington257638
Randolph248583
Jennings243349
Spencer240531
Fountain239050
Starke231559
Owen226759
Sullivan224143
Fulton210446
Jay204132
Carroll200623
Orange194456
Perry193139
Vermillion183444
Rush179127
Tipton174348
Franklin173935
Parke157816
Pike144034
Blackford138732
Pulaski124748
Newton124137
Benton111615
Brown106743
Crawford106716
Martin92715
Warren88715
Switzerland8568
Union73910
Ohio58711
Unassigned0429

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1132798

Reported Deaths: 20530
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1312911496
Cuyahoga1180592268
Hamilton830231263
Montgomery541901064
Summit491891018
Lucas43982835
Butler40324615
Stark34056941
Lorain26232511
Warren25125312
Mahoning22881614
Lake21602397
Clermont20592261
Delaware19295138
Licking16977227
Fairfield16959207
Trumbull16940493
Medina16019278
Greene15721254
Clark14439309
Portage13548219
Wood13411201
Allen12124245
Richland11870214
Miami11140229
Wayne9344228
Columbiana9282236
Muskingum9207137
Pickaway8796123
Marion8774140
Tuscarawas8756257
Erie8220166
Ashtabula7318180
Hancock7080135
Ross7070165
Geauga7032153
Scioto6887108
Belmont6261179
Lawrence6033106
Union595149
Jefferson5787162
Huron5678122
Sandusky5536130
Darke5476131
Seneca5391128
Washington5391111
Athens528660
Auglaize510587
Mercer492885
Shelby487798
Knox4678112
Ashland450198
Madison450066
Defiance444599
Fulton443275
Putnam4366104
Crawford4152112
Brown414163
Preble3988107
Logan396379
Clinton395667
Ottawa378281
Highland370768
Williams361878
Champaign351760
Guernsey334054
Jackson324954
Perry300550
Morrow298544
Fayette291350
Hardin280465
Henry279067
Coshocton275161
Holmes2735102
Van Wert254465
Gallia254150
Adams253658
Pike247137
Wyandot236557
Hocking224163
Carroll203349
Paulding181542
Meigs153940
Monroe139446
Noble138739
Harrison115738
Morgan112024
Vinton88217
Unassigned04
Fort Wayne
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Angola
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Feels Like: 70°
Huntington
Clear
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Feels Like: 62°
Decatur
Clear
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Hi: 83° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 66°
Van Wert
Clear
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Feels Like: 62°
The heat and humidity builds into the region as we head into the weekend.
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