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article imagePG&E anticipates over $6 billion in losses from wildfires

By Karen Graham     Nov 7, 2019 in Business
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losses for the third quarter on Thursday, driven by catastrophic wildfires that have been blamed on the utility’s outdated transmission lines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 is anticipating its loses could escalate to as much as $6.3 billion, per Market Watch. In addition to this latest revelation, 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, as well as the Northern California wildfire in November 2018 that wiped out the town of Paradise and killed 85 people.
The utility is also facing angry criticism from officials and residents over the intentional blackouts that left millions without power. Schools and businesses were closed for days and people could not charge their cellphones, withdraw money or pump gas.
Despite accusations that the company used the blackouts to save money, PG&E CEO Bill Johnson has said that the blackouts were “well planned and executed” and done “solely in the interest of public safety," according to the Associated Press.
Last Friday, California Governor Gavin Newsom added to the uncertainty as PG&E struggles to emerge from bankruptcy. He wants a resolution for all of the parties involved in order to accelerate PG&E’s bankruptcy proceedings. Should that fail, he suggested the state will step up and start the restructuring.
The company has said it would prefer to work its way out of bankruptcy protection itself, although it will need the help of the government, insurance companies and investors.
CBS affiliate KPIX5 reports that as of Thursday, PG&E showed 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.
As of Thursday, November 7 at 12:32 p.m. - PG&E shares are 6.14-0.78 (-11.27%) after opening at 6.49.
More about PG&E, wildfire loses, 6 billion, Blackouts, 3rd quarter loses
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