PG&E to file for bankruptcy, CEO resigns in aftermath of wildfires

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According to PG&E, the company intends to file petitions to reorganize under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code on or about January 29, 2019. It said it was facing about 50 lawsuits related to the Camp Fire on behalf of 2,000 individual plaintiffs, and more than 700 lawsuits involving at least 3,600 plaintiffs in connection with the wildfires in 2017.

Pacific Gas and Electric, the utility company that has been tied to deadly wildfires in California, said Monday it plans to file for bankruptcy at the end of the month. Investigators with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection later determined that a dozen of those blazes were started by PG&E equipment and power lines, and that in eight of those cases the company was in violation of state laws concerning maintenance and brush clearing.

Moody's Investors Service and S&P; Global Ratings both downgraded PG&E;'s bonds to junk status last week, adding to the firm's troubles, according to The New York Times.

"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", he said.

Geisha Williams announced her resignation from PG&E amid growing concerns over the company's role in the devastating Camp Fire, which killed at least 86 people and destroyed more than 18,800 homes and buildings.

This means that PG&E will continue operating its gas and electric service to customers.

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PG&E is the subject of enormous litigation and liabilities estimated which could reach as high as $30 billion, analysts who studied the 2018 California wildfires say. Here, transmission towers in a valley near Paradise, Calif., as the Camp Fire burns in November 2017.

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

PG&E's chief executive officer was replaced on Sunday by General Counsel John Simon on an interim basis.

The company said it will be able to gain access to capital and resources it needs to continue providing service to customers as it restructures.

The company's board ousted CEO Geisha Williams and chose to undergo a restructuring at a meeting this weekend in San Francisco, according to a source familiar with the matter. The DIP financing will provide PG&E with funding so that the company can continue to operate and serve customers. Cal Fire says the Camp Fire began November 8 at 6:33 a.m. local time on Pulga Road in Butte County - and PG&E sent an official notice to the California Public Utilities Commission describing an outage on one of its transmission lines at Pulga Road at 6:15 a.m.

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.