O&M

California Lawmakers: PG&E Threatening Bankruptcy Due to Wildfires

By Editors of Power Engineering

California lawmakers say Pacific Gas & Electric officials have told them the company may need to file for bankruptcy or otherwise reorganize if it is held liable for wildfires in the state.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection announced twelve fires during a statewide outbreak last October were caused by utility lines, CBS Sacramento reported. These fires burned over 100,000 acres, destroyed 1,603 structures and killed 15 people.

Eight of the fires have been referred to district attorneys for potential prosecution, with analysts estimating the fires could result in fines of more than $15 billion. Hundreds of homeowners have already filed suit against the company.

PG&E denied liability for the fires, saying climate change was their true cause. Additionally, a spokeswoman said California’s wildfire liability laws are not sustainable, and that the company could be liable for damages even if the company followed established inspection and safety rules.