North Hollywood, CA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 01/17/2019 --We're not even one month into the new year and PG&E, the nation's largest utility company, is confronting the greatest threat in its 114 year history. The company is facing $30 billion in potential damages for devastating wildfires that raged over northern California in 2017 and 2018, killing dozens of people and destroying thousands of homes and businesses.
And according to CNBC, "PG&E is reeling from the November Camp fire that swept through the California mountain community of Paradise and killed at least 86 people in the deadliest and most destructive blaze in state history. PG&E said in November it could face 'significant liability' in excess of its insurance coverage if its equipment was found to have caused the Camp fire".
Consequently, on Monday PG&E announced that it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on January 29.
News of the bankruptcy sent the company's shares tumbling by nearly 50% in Monday's trading, bringing its year-to-date stock devaluation to 72%, while its debt has been downgraded to junk status. But bankruptcy is only part of the potential financial trauma. PG&E also said it would not pay an interest payment due on Wednesday for bonds maturing in 2040, which would also trigger a default. If the company collapses, more than $17 billion of its bonds would be facing default, according to analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
The future of PG&E is in shambles as its CEO, Geisha Williams, steps down and the company's fate is now left in the hands of California Governor, Gavin Newsom, who recognizes that drastic measures must be taken for the well-being of the state and most importantly for those affected by the fires.
Green Solar Technologies COO, Edward Harner, comments, "I feel deeply for the victims of the fires who are trying to get compensation for their losses, and for the people who invested their hard earned money in PG&E stocks and bonds. But the biggest tragedy might be that this whole situation was avoidable if PG&E had invested more resources in keeping trees and brush trimmed around its transformers and power lines. A company needs to feel a responsibility to the environment, not just to its bottom line."
It is unclear exactly how the bankruptcy will affect PG&E or its customers, but many are hoping this will be a wake-up call for the company to take the correct safety measures and ensure that no more lives will be lost due to their mistakes.