Embattled PG&E To File For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Employees of Pacific Gas & Electric work in the aftermath of the Camp Fire in Paradise

PG&E was downgraded to junk by credit-ratings firms last week as reports circulated that it was nearing a bankruptcy filing.

"When I took office one week ago today, I immediately instructed my team to meet with the California Public Utilities Commission, CAISO, PG&E, and labor unions representing the workers who work for PG&E".

PG&E said in a letter to pensioners that it doesn't expect any changes to its tax-qualified pension plans, or to its life and health-insurance benefits. During her tenure at the helm of the San Francisco-based utility, it accrued more than $30 billion in potential wildfire liabilities, according to analyst estimates.

Last week, a federal judge said in a court order that the utility may be ordered to inspect its electric grid and turn off power during windy conditions to prevent wildfires this year. "We believe John is the right interim leader for the company while we work to identify a new CEO".

In November, the most deadly fire in Californian history began in the town of Paradise, killing 86 people.

This announcement comes a day after the company's CEO Geisha Williams resigned.

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PG&E's financial woes have already spread to the companies that supply its natural gas and generate electricity for its customers.

PG&E expects the Chapter 11 process will "support the orderly, fair and expeditious resolution of its potential liabilities resulting from the 2017 and 2018 Northern California wildfires".

The company said Monday that it has only about $1.5 billion in cash and cash equivalents on hand. The board of directors chose John Simon as interim CEO.

The company's board chose to oust CEO Geisha Williams and undergo a restructuring at a board meeting this weekend in San Francisco, according to a source familiar with the matter. PG&E kept the lights on during the three years it spent in Chapter 11 between 2001 and 2004, when it was clobbered by rising power costs during the energy crisis.

Firefighter Jose Corona sprays water as flames from the Camp Fire consume a home in Magalia, Calif., Nov. 9, 2018. The PG&E (PCG) board said it would look to hire a new chief executive with "extensive operational and safety expertise".

Under Williams, PG&E spent millions of dollars trying to convince state lawmakers to change a legal doctrine known as inverse condemnation, under which utilities are liable for damages if their equipment is found to have sparked a wildfire, even if they weren't negligent.

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