Monday, 25 March, 2019

PG&E Reportedly Eyeing Breakup, Bankruptcy In Wake Of Multiple Devastating Wildfires

A PG&E truck carrying an American Flag drives past PG&E repair trucks in Paradise Camp Fire: PG&E gets sued by insurance companies
Orlando Vargas | 08 January, 2019, 19:47

A bankruptcy filing is not certain, the sources said.

S&P Global Ratings on Monday stripped California power utility PG&E Corp of its investment-grade credit rating and kept it under review for a further downgrade, citing political and regulatory pressure and uncertainty as it faces massive claims stemming from deadly wildfires.

"You can't trust what they say", said Hill, who represents San Bruno, where a PG&E gas pipeline exploded in 2010, killing eight.

The San Francisco-based company has lost more than half its market value since the deadliest wildfire in California history broke out in early November. The company was considering the move, for some or all of its businesses, as it fears a massive charge in the fourth quarter related to potential liabilities from wildfires.

"Our US$29 target does not assume anything for Tubbs" liabilities, he said in a research note Monday. But they added that "exploitive tactics and a reticence toward change will not improve" the company's profile. "We argue bankruptcy may be a substantive solution for several of PCG's woes, and should be considered a credible risk by shareholders". California policymakers had approved a bill that let utilities pass on to customers some costs related to wildfires, according to Moody's.

Also in December, PG&E requested a 12% rate hike in 2020 to help fund a community wildfire safety program, insurance liabilities, and core gas and electric operations.

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" Legislation is the way forward as it will allow to keep the utility alive and mitigate any negative impact one can get from the bankruptcy", Pourreza said.

"We want to tap fresh perspectives and additional expertise to help address the changing nature of PG&E's business and the challenges it faces now and in the future", the board said in a statement. But that is just a possibility, they said, so bankruptcy preparations are being made.

PG&E filed for bankruptcy once before in 2001.

"Without adequate political and regulatory support, we can not rule out a Chapter 11 filing", Christopher Turnure analyst at J.P. Morgan said in a note.

"Rather than waiting for the regulators to tell you what's going to happen - which could take years", he said, "you're in the bankruptcy court where there's a structure".

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