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WILLITS, 1/14/19 — PG&E has announced that it will be declaring bankruptcy, due to liabilities of up to $30 billion, stemming from numerous wildfires over the past few years which have killed more than a hundred people, and destroyed thousands upon thousands of residences. In many of these fires, though not all, a PG&E power-line or equipment has been found to be the immediate cause, the spark started the fire. The $30 billion figure is more than PG&E’s assets and insurance combined.
However, the company has said they will not go out of business, and utilities services should be continuing uninterrupted. The situation has left the state mulling a bail-out, though some lawmakers have instead advocated for breaking-up the massive company, or buying it out and making it into a public utility, similar to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
Here are some good articles from top newspapers, each with useful facts:
Governor Newsom made the following statement about the bankruptcy:
“PG&E provides gas and electric service to 16 million Californians. From the moment I was elected, I have been closely monitoring the impact of PG&E’s existing and potential future liability for the deadly wildfires on the victims of the fires and the consumers who rely on PG&E for their electric and gas service.California Governor Gavin Newsom
“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. My staff and I have been in constant contact throughout the week and over the weekend with these stakeholders and regulators. Everyone’s immediate focus is, rightfully, on ensuring Californians have continuous, reliable and safe electric and gas service.
“While PG&E announced its intent to file bankruptcy today, the company should continue to honor promises made to energy suppliers and to our community. 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.”
And the North Coast’s state senator, Mike McGuire, made this statement:
“The number one priority must be to protect ratepayers and fire survivors. We must ensure PG&E doesn’t miss a beat with their electric and gas contracts and we must have survivors at the top of mind to make sure they are taken care of every step of the way.State Senator Mike McGuire
The State needs to look to the past as a lesson for the present. Neither PG&E executives nor stock speculators should profit while ratepayers, taxpayers and everyday Californians are impacted.
We’re committed to working with Pro Tem Atkins, Governor Newsom and the Legislature to ensure Californians have access to reliable and affordable service and the needs of fire survivors are always a top priority in the months and years to come.”