USA wildfires push energy firm PG&E to bankruptcy protection

PG&E Corp

PG&E Corp

California utility company Pacific Gas & Electric on Monday morning that it will move forward in filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statement in the wake of all the troubles: "While PG&E announced its intent to file bankruptcy today, the company should continue to honor promises made to energy suppliers and to our community..."

Geisha Williams is stepping down as the CEO of PG&E Corp., the largest utility in the USA, while potential liability over recent California wildfires drives the company into bankruptcy.

"While we are making progress as a company in safety and other areas, the board recognizes the tremendous challenges PG&E continues to face", Chairman Richard Kelly said in the company's statement.

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. It needs to use the bankruptcy process, which will allow it to shed some of its debt, to pay for damages and stay in business to provide gas and electric service to its customers.

The full press release from PG&E can be found on its website. Chief Executive Officer Geisha Williams is leaving as California's largest utility owner nears potential bankruptcy.

The utility is planning to notify employees as soon as Monday that it may make a Chapter 11 filing within 15 days, people familiar with the plan said Saturday. PG&E general counsel John Simon will take the helm in the meantime.

The PG&E board of directors is pushing Williams out as CEO over fallout from the company's liability in sparking deadly wildfires across California. Three months later, however, the utility's equipment again was being looked at as a possible source of the Camp Fire, which killed 86 people and destroyed the town of Paradise.

The 150-year-old company said: "We recognise that the devastating and unprecedented Northern California wildfires of 2017 and 2018 have had a profound impact on our customers and their communities".

PG&E is in discussions with lenders about a financing package worth up to $5 billion.

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