Emissions, O&M, Renewables

PG&E hires former NTSB chair to be safety advisor

Bankrupt northern California utility PG&E Corp. is making an additional change to its boards of directors and adding an independent safety advisor.

Fred Buckman, former CEO of Consumers Energy and PacifiCorp, has been appointed to the parent PG&E Corp. and the Pacific Gas & Electric Co. utility as a new independent director, effective immediately. Buckman will replace Richard Kelly, who has resigned as a director of each of the boards.

PG&E also will be hiring Christopher Hart, former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, to serve as a special independent safety advisor. Hart will report directly to PG&E’s new CEO and President Bill Johnson.

These announcements come after communication between PG&E and key investor BlueMountain Capital Management, LLC (together with its affiliates, “BlueMountain”).

“On behalf of the boards of directors, I want to thank Dick Kelly for his service and the significant contributions he made to the PG&E Boards over the past six years,” said Nora Mead Brownell, chair of the board of PG&E Corporation. “We welcome Fred Buckman to the PG&E Boards. Dr. Buckman brings years of utility operations experience over a multi-state service region, including California, and we are confident his industry background will complement the strengths and expertise of PG&E’s substantially refreshed boards.”

PG&E filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year in connection with its liability in the northern California wildfires of recent years. The utility has admitted that its equipment may have caused one of the deadly fires and has prepared for about $11 billion in financial liabilities.

In connection with the changes announced today, the company will propose to increase the maximum size of the PG&E Corporation Board to 15 directors, to be voted on at the Annual Meeting. In filling the fifteenth director position, the PG&E Boards will be focused on identifying candidates with strong clean energy/clean technology experience, a background in network and customer technology, strong ties to California, and expertise in California’s clean energy goals.