PG&E is Looking to Come Out of Bankruptcy with a Vengeance


The company that has been accused of starting over 1,900 fires since 2014 is coming out of bankruptcy with huge changes.

2019 was not a great year for the San Francisco utility company, PG&E, as they reported a $3.6 billion 4th quarter loss as it continues to go through investigations and the claims related to the 2017 and 2018 California wildfires.

The company filed for bankruptcy in 2019 after a loss of $7.7 billion coming on the heels of their $6.9 billion loss in 2018. The company recorded a pretax one-time charge stemming from a $13.5 billion settlement with victims of one of the multiple wildfires they have allegedly played a role in since 2014 (total charges are almost $26 billion). The company also had to pay millions of customers for cutting their power during the 1,900 wildfires the company is said to have started since 2014.

PG&E told the judge that it is still on track to exit their bankruptcy this summer. They must pay for a California wildfire fund which was designed to assist the state’s investor-owned utilities to handle any liability damages arising from inevitable fires. 

“Our focus now is on working with all key stakeholders, including elected officials and state regulators, to position PG&E for emergence as a financially stable company with a renewed and rigorous focus on safe operations and customer service, while meeting California’s energy needs and goals in a changed climate,” PG&E Chief Executive Bill Johnson said in a statement.

The company said it has met numerous 2019 goals for improving system safety by trimming more trees away from its power lines and installing devices to better monitor fire hazards.

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Economics, Finance and Investing