PG&E, utility tied to deadly California wildfires, will file for bankruptcy

Geisha Williams speaks during the 2018 CERAWeek by IHS Markit conference in Houston Texas on Thursday

Geisha Williams speaks during the 2018 CERAWeek by IHS Markit conference in Houston Texas on Thursday

California's wildfires in 2017 and 2018 will likely cost tens of billions of dollars.

A notice may signal that the company has accelerated plans to make a Chapter 11 filing as way of dealing with crippling liabilities from the wildfires of 2017 and 2018 that killed more than 100 people and destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres.

"It is clear that a solution is needed that enables the continued safe delivery of natural gas and electric service to our customers and supports the orderly, fair and expeditious resolution of PG&E's potential liabilities resulting from the recent wildfires".

PG&E is reeling from the November Camp fire that swept through the California mountain community of Paradise and killed at least 86 people in the deadliest and most destructive blaze in state history.

The company has about $1.5 billion in cash heading into bankruptcy and is negotiating with lenders to get about $5.5 billion more in debtor-in-possession financing to stay in business and continue providing power and gas to millions of Californians, according to Reuters.

The company's board chose to oust CEO Geisha Williams and undergo a restructuring at a board meeting this weekend in San Francisco, according to a source familiar with the matter. "We believe John is the right interim leader for the company while we work to identify a new CEO". Shares were trading at almost $50 before the company disclosed that a faulty transmission tower may have caused the Camp Fire.

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Pacific Gas & Electric announced Sunday evening that CEO Geisha Williams will step down amid the fallout from a spate of deadly wildfires that may have brought the California utility to the brink of bankruptcy.

It went on to say that a Chapter 11 reorganisation was the only viable option for meeting these goals.

Advisers said they expect it may take up to two years for the company to emerge from bankruptcy. PG&E remains committed to assisting the communities affected by wildfires in Northern California, and its restoration and rebuilding efforts will continue.

Gov. Gavin Newsom was quick to respond to the bankruptcy announcment, issuing a statement early Monday.

Williams knew the risks that she faced because of wildfires liabilities.

PG&E, which serves 15 million Californians - nearly 40% of the population of the state - warned then it could face "significant liability" beyond its insured amount if its equipment was found to have caused the fire.

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