PG&E’s stocks on Tuesday tanked after reports of massive liabilities from last year’s wildfires. Standard & Poor’s cut their credit rating to junk status as the utility company faces the possibility of bankruptcy.
PG&E has not denied reports that it may file for bankruptcy protection and that has everyone talking from Wall Street to the California legislature.
A bankruptcy would be disastrous according to TURN, The Utility Reform Network which looks out for customers.
“It’s just going to be about paying off the creditors and we’re certainly going to see ratepayers end up losers,” explained Mark Toney, executive director of TURN.
Last year PG&E threatened to go bankrupt as it faced lawsuits resulting from the 2017 wildfires. But the legislature came to their rescue by passing Senate Bill 901 which placed a cap on how much PG&E could pay out in lawsuits and still remain solvent. Any amount over that cap would be picked up by customers.
The issue is that the cap in that Senate bill did not include future disasters like this year’s Butte county wildfires.
“That was supposed to be a one time fix and to come back again a year later asking the same thing is going to be a much heavier lift,” said Toney.
Even lawmakers who supported that last bill, are now suggesting that PG&E get a new board and new management.
A spokesperson said the company is “reviewing structural options to best position PG&E to implement necessary changes.”
The company announced that three of its executives were leaving marking a change in their leadership.
Joe Cotchett represents many families from the San Bruno explosion which was blamed on PG&E. He says it’s time to break up the company.
“Go back to Wall Street and we take over and make public companies out of this that are truly regulated by and looked over by public electric people,” said Cotchett.