PG&E shares plunge on bankruptcy worries

California Wildfire Liability May Cause PG&E To Sell Off Part of Company to Avoid BankruptcyMore

A bankruptcy filing reportedly is not PG&E's preference for addressing the liabilities, but the preparations could put pressure on California politicians hoping the company can avoid such an outcome.

Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. could face billions of dollars in potential liability involving massive wildfires in California - some of which have already been linked to equipment operated by the company.

National Public Radio, citing an anonymous company official and a former employee, reported that PG&E is exploring selling off its natural gas division — a major part of the company — to set up a fund for potential wildfire claims.

The ratings agency said it could further cut the company's rating over the next few months if explicit steps are not taken by authorities to improve the regulatory situation, signaling that the agency may be losing faith that lawmakers could rescue PG&E.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. The company could be engaged in similar brinkmanship now, he said.

The fires near the Northern California mountain community of Paradise swept through the town, killing at least 86 people in the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in the state's history.

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A bankruptcy filing is not certain, the sources said.

The utility, California's largest, is contending with potentially crippling liability costs related to California's Camp Fire. "You can't trust what they say".

" Legislation is the way forward as it will allow to keep the utility alive and mitigate any negative impact one can get from the bankruptcy", Pourreza said. But that is just a possibility, they said, so bankruptcy preparations are being made. "We recognize the need to balance the interests of many stakeholders while maintaining safe, reliable and affordable services for our customers, which is always our top priority", the company said in a statement.

The company said on Friday that it was reviewing its "structural options" and assessing its operations, finances, management, structure and governance.

"We want to tap fresh perspectives and additional expertise to help address the changing nature of PG&E's business and the challenges it faces now and in the future", the board said in a statement.

The prospect of a state takeover may not offer a panacea, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Kit Konolige said.

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