PG&E to File for Bankruptcy Amid Mounting Liabilities from CA Wildfires

PG&E chief executive leaving as utility readies for possible bankruptcy

PG&E chief executive leaving as utility readies for possible bankruptcy

The Board of Directors has named John Simon Interim CEO. Williams, 57, took over as CEO in March 2017 and is leaving after a catastrophic three months for PG&E.

Newsom said during a press conference Thursday that his office would be making an announcement related to PG&E within the next few days and that the issue was at the top of his agenda.

"When I took office one week ago today, I immediately instructed my team to meet with the California Public Utilities Commission, CAISO, PG&E, and labor unions representing the workers who work for PG&E".

Reuters reported January 7 that the company was looking into filing for bankruptcy protection. Meanwhile, the federal judge overseeing PG&E's criminal probation sentence - the result of the deadly 2010 natural gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno - has said he might order PG&E to inspect its entire electricity grid before the start of the next fire season in June.

PG&E has already asked state regulators for a $1 billion rate hike, beginning in 2020, to help cover the increased costs of improving its fire safety. At least two small gas suppliers have restricted sales to PG&E out of concern that the company won't be able to pay, people with direct knowledge of the situation said last week.

The company has engaged in discussions with potential lenders with respect to Debtor-in-Possession ("DIP") financing. She was one of a group of women occupying the C-suite at power companies - including Duke Energy Corp.'s Lynn Good, El Paso Electric Co.'s Mary Kipp, PNM Resources Inc.'s Pat Vincent-Collawn and Sunrun Inc.'s Lynn Jurich.

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"On behalf of the Board, I want to thank Geisha for her service and her tireless commitment to our employees and the 16 million Californians we serve", said Richard C. Kelly, Chair of the Board of PG&E Corporation, in a statement. "I value the opportunity I've had to lead PG&E and wish all of my colleagues well".

Williams was CEO for less than two years, but she had been with PG&E since 2007.

The company does not expect bankruptcy to interfere with providing its customers with power and other services, the company said in a statement Monday. Williams called the doctrine bad public policy that made utilities the default insurer in the state.

PG&E said in November it could face "significant liability" in excess of its insurance coverage if its equipment was found to have caused the Camp fire in Northern California.

This includes California's deadliest fire on record which killed 86 people and destroyed around 14,000 homes. PG&E expects that the Chapter 11 process will, among other things, support the orderly, fair and expeditious resolution of its potential liabilities resulting from the 2017 and 2018 Northern California wildfires, and will assure the Company has access to the capital and resources it needs to continue to provide safe service to customers.

-With assistance from David R. Baker and Peter Blumberg.

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