PG&E expects more than $6B in wildfire costs

California

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Pacific Gas & Electric reported substantial losses for the third quarter on Thursday, driven by catastrophic wildfires that have been blamed on the utility’s outdated transmission lines. The company anticipates those costs could escalate to as much as $6.3 billion.

PG&E filed for bankruptcy in January to deal with an estimated $30 billion in liabilities from wildfires that its equipment may have ignited in 2017 and 2018, including a wildfire last November that essentially wiped out the Northern California town of Paradise and killed 85 people.

The company is also facing criticism for intentional blackouts that have left millions without power as it tries to limit wildfires during dry, windy conditions.

California officials and residents have expressed growing anger over the blackouts, which have left those without power struggling with to keep cellphones charged, find gas and withdraw cash. Businesses and schools were closed for days.

Some accused the company of instituting the blackouts to save money, but PG&E CEO Bill Johnson has said that the blackouts were “well planned and executed” and done “solely in the interest of public safety.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday threatened a possible takeover of the troubled utility unless it can emerge from bankruptcy ahead of next year’s wildfire season with a plan focused on safety. The company has said it prefers to work its way out of bankruptcy protection, but will need the help of government, insurance companies and investors.

Newsom called Johnson into a closed-door meeting Tuesday.

Since the utility’s bankruptcy filing in January, PG&E’s shareholders and creditors have battled for control of the company, putting forth competing plans in bankruptcy court that would maintain PG&E’s long-running setup as a for-profit company.

The state’s largest utility on Thursday swung to a loss of $1.62 billion, after a profit of $564 million in the same period last year.

That’s a per-share loss of $3.06, or $1.11 when one-time costs are removed. Revenue was $4.43 billion.

Shares in PG&E fell 5% in morning trading. A year ago, before they were trading around $48 per share.

For local, national, and breaking news, and to get weather alerts, download our FREE mobile app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

CBS47 On Your Side

Do you have a problem that you need help solving? Contact CBS47 and let us be On Your Side.

Phone: 559-761-0383
Email: OnYourSide@cbsfresno.com

Don’t Miss

Best of the Valley
Sunday Morning Matters
MedWatch Today
Hispanic Heritage
Bulldog Insider: The Podcast
The Valley's Armenia
Pros Who Know

Images from Armenia

Small patients in Armenia
Yerevan by night.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers in Gyumri.
Doctors unpack medical supplies from The Central Valley.
Fresno Medical Mission at work.
Medical Supplies being unloaded.
Fresno Medical Mission at the ready.
KSEE24 crew witnesses the miracle of life in Gyumri, Armenia.
Life saving work of Central Valley surgeons in Armenia.
Ribbon cutting on new surgical center in Ashtarak Armenia. Fresno donors made this dream come true.
KSEE24 on assignment with the Fresno Medical Mission
Honorary Consulate to Armenia Berj Apkarian explains the crisis facing one hospital.
KSEE24's Stefani Booroojian and Kevin Mahan at the meeting with President Bako Sahakyan.
Medical Meeting in Artsakh.
The President of Artsakh meets with the Fresno Medical Mission.
Learning modern medicine techniques with the Fresno Medical Mission in surgery.
Leaning in for a look. Dr. Brien Tonkinson holds class and helps a patient in Armenia.
Fresno Medical Mission cares on one of the smallest patients in the region. Six-year old Yanna receives life-changing better breathing surgery.