SAN FRANCISCO — California Gov. Gavin Newsom is stepping up pressure on Pacific Gas & Electric to fork over billions more in cash to pay thousands of people who lost homes in wildfires that drove the utility into bankruptcy.
The rising tensions were scheduled to be aired out in a bankruptcy court hearing Wednesday, but it was abruptly postponed on Tuesday to Tuesday, November 19.
The delay could allow the sides to negotiate a compromise on PG&E’s blueprint for its financial revival.
If PG&E doesn’t make changes, Newsom is threatening to try to turn the utility into a customer-owned cooperative run by the state and local governments.
The company so far has defended its proposal as a fair deal for all parties involved in its bankruptcy.
Earlier this year, PG&E notified the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it believes transmission failure ignited what many say was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in state history. The utility reported that it was taking a $10.5 billion pre-tax charge in the fourth quarter related to the Camp Fire claims against it.
The SEC filing details equipment failures which likely contributed to the blaze that killed 86 people, destroyed more than 10,000 structures and damaged about 150,000 acres
In January, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It was PG&E’s second bankruptcy petition in the past 15 years.
After its bankruptcy, PG&E informed the California Public Utilities Commission that it might split up its electric and gas divisions.