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

Following the deadly and destructive Camp Fire an aerial view of the Northern California town of Paradise is seen on Nov. 15 2018

Following the deadly and destructive Camp Fire an aerial view of the Northern California town of Paradise is seen on Nov. 15 2018

Because of potential legislative aid, PG&E has not yet determined whether it will make a bankruptcy filing, Reuters reported. The law does not help the company for the 2018 blazes. Stocks for PG&E and Edison International fell dramatically back in November as the fires worsened, and 35 families from the town of Paradise have sued PG&E over the Camp Fire.

State Farm accuses PG&E in its own lawsuit of "failing to keep the power lines, wires, and any and all associated equipment in a safe condition at all times to prevent fires".

News of the possibly bankruptcy filing sent shares of PG&E plummeting in after-hours trading on Friday. But the preparations could put pressure on California politicians hoping the company can avoid such an outcome.

However, the company said its board of directors is looking for new members and engaging outside experts for advice on wildfire safety.

The insurance companies that have each filed a Camp Fire lawsuit against PG&E include Allstate Insurance Co, State Farm, and USAA.

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The California attorney general told a judge last week that PG&E could face charges as serious as involuntary manslaughter or murder if investigators determine that reckless operation or maintenance of power equipment caused any recent wildfires in the state. They also note a potential second ignition point involving PG&E distribution lines.

The insurers' lawsuits, filed December 21, were first reported by the Sacramento Business Journal. California policymakers had approved a bill that let utilities pass on to customers some costs related to wildfires, according to Moody's. In response to a request for a comment from Fortune, PG&E emailed: "T$3 he PG&E Board is reviewing structural options to best position PG&E to implement necessary changes while meeting customer and operational needs".

Earlier last month, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) opened a proceeding to consider penalties against the company, ordering immediate action against the utility for falsifying safety documents for natural gas pipelines.

Several Camp Fire survivors have also already filed lawsuits against PG&E. That said, the California insurance companies are pointing the finger directly at Pacific Gas and Electric Co (PG&E). It emerged from bankruptcy in 2004.

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