PG&E announces bankruptcy filing, impacts to services not expected

PG&E Corporation has announced their intent to file for bankruptcy, as the company faces billions of dollars in liability after recent wildfires. The CEO of the company, Geisha Williams, resigned Sunday.

Monday morning the company announced they plan to declare insolvency, providing the required 15 day advance notice to their employees.

PG&E said they will remain committed to providing safe natural gas and electric service to customers as it prepares to initiate voluntary reorganization proceedings.

PG&E does not expect any impact to electric or natural gas service for its customers.

Under a new state law, the utility company must tell its employees about a change in company control at least 15 days before that change takes place.

In a statement, PG&E said:

"PG&E remains committed to assisting the communities affected by wildfires in Northern California, and its restoration and rebuilding efforts will continue. The company also expects that its employees will continue to receive their pay and healthcare benefits as usual."

John R. Simon, PG&E's Interim CEO said:

“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. We remain committed to helping them through the recovery and rebuilding process.

We believe a court-supervised process under Chapter 11 will best enable PG&E to resolve its potential liabilities in an orderly, fair and expeditious fashion. We expect this process also will enable PG&E to access the capital and resources we need to continue providing our customers with safe service and investing in our systems and infrastructure.

Everyone at PG&E knows that our single most important responsibility is safety, and we recognize that we must work even harder every day to demonstrate that the safety of our customers, our communities, our employees and our contractors comes first.”

PG&E expects that the Chapter 11 process will, among other things:

  • Enable continued safe delivery of natural gas and electric service to PG&E's millions of customers.
  • Support the orderly, fair and expeditious resolution of PG&E's potential liabilities resulting from the 2017 and 2018 wildfires in Northern California.
  • Enable PG&E to continue its extensive restoration and rebuilding efforts to assist communities affected by the 2017 and 2018 wildfires in Northern California.
  • Allow the company to work with regulators and policymakers to determine the most effective way for customers to receive safe natural gas and electric service for the long-term in an environment that continues to be challenged by climate change.
  • Assure PG&E has access to the capital and resources necessary to support ongoing operations and enable PG&E to continue investing in its systems, infrastructure and critical safety efforts, including investigating in its Community Wildfire Safety Program, an additional precautionary safety measure implemented following the 2017 Northern California wildfires to further reduce wildfire risk.

California Governor Gavin Newsom released this statement shortly after the announcement:

"Throughout the months ahead, I will be working with the Legislature and all stakeholders on a solution that ensures consumers have access to safe, affordable, and reliable service, fire victims are treated fairly, and California can continue to make progress toward our climate goals."

Assemblyman James Gallagher took to Twitter Monday morning with his thoughts on the announcement saying, "PG&E should not be allowed to come out of bankruptcy in the same form. Strong consideration must be given to substantially reform or break up of this quasi-government monopoly."

He added, "CA cannot allow PG&E to declare BK & then make fire victims stand in line at bankruptcy court. If PG&E is determined liable for these disasters, fire victims & ratepayers must be priority. No Wall Street creditors should get paid until fire victims have been properly compensated."

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