PG&E stock plummets after report it's eyeing bankruptcy filing
08 January, 2019, 05:31 | Author: Eric Barnett
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PG&E faces billions of dollars of potential liabilities related to the wildfires if an investigation determines its equipment caused them.
PG&E is exploring the move as a contingency, in part because it could take a significant Q4 financial charge related to liabilities from the catastrophic fires, according to the report.
A bankruptcy filing is not certain, the sources said. They'll have to decide whether to allow the company to pass some of the costs of the fire through to taxpayers, Katie Bays and Clayton Allen, analysts at Height Securities LLC, said in a note on Monday.
The company is considering whether to file for bankruptcy protection as soon as February, people familiar with the situation said Friday.
A bankruptcy filing is not PG&E's preference for addressing liabilities from the catastrophic blazes, some of the sources said.
PG&E could wait to see how things play out in California, or it could opt for a bankruptcy proceeding that would prove more predictable and free the company from the mercy of state policy makers, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Kit Konolige said.
"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".
The lawsuit is only the latest major challenge PG&E faces due to the massive Californian wildfire.
The Camp Fire broke out on the morning of November 8 near the mountain community of Paradise, sweeping through the town and killing at least 86 people, in the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in state history.
State Farm's lawsuit accused PG&E of "failing to keep the power lines, wires, and any and all associated equipment in a safe condition at all times to prevent fires".
FILE - Firefighter Jose Corona sprays water as flames from the Camp Fire consume a home in Magalia, California, Nov. 9, 2018.
PG&E added that it has formed a special board committee that includes independent experts to advise on wildfire safety best practices. "Last year, they were able to fool the legislature with the narrative of bankruptcy or bailout, and the legislature gave them a bailout".
It was also sentenced to another five years of probation and fined $3 million last year after being found guilty of multiple violations of the Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act, UPIreported.
Top hedge funds scooped up or held shares of PG&E Corp.in the third quarter, with the beaten down stock of the California utility appearing to be a good value.
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