SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – California regulators were poised for a bankruptcy declaration by the nation's largest utility.
Pacific Gas and Electric Corp.
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The decision cleared a major obstacle to the company's planned bankruptcy filing- a move that would likely set off a yearslong court battle that could have resulted in legislative changes, higher utility rates and less money for wildfire victims.
PG & E announced on Jan. 14 that it planned to bankruptcy $ 30 billion in potential wildfire damages. The company said that it would be the victims of catastrophic wildfires in 2017 and 2018.
The fires included the nation's deadliest in a century – a blaze that killed at least 86 people and destroyed 15,000 homes in Paradise and surrounding communities.
The state of the art has been reviewed in a report published on the occasion of a fire in Northern California's wine country that killed 22 people. The finding prompted questions about PG & E still needed to file for bankruptcy. Gov. Gavin Newsom's office estimated that more than half of the $ 30 billion in potential damages the company cited from the wine country fire.
Legal experts said they still expected PG & E to move forward with bankruptcy in part because that would give the company space
California may have to change its legal status, otherwise it may become irresponsible. said Kenneth Ayotte, who teaches corporate finance and bankruptcy law classes at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.
PG & E would also be able to consolidate all wildfire lawsuits in bankruptcy court, where victims would have to tussle with creditors and would
Monday's CPUC meeting may have provided a glimpse of the acrimony that would accompany any bankruptcy filing. Protesters repeatedly denounced and spoke over the commission and booed and shouted, "Shame," as it voted to allow PG & E to obtain immediate credit and loans as part of any Chapter 11 filing. PG & E has said it has $ 5.5 billion in credit and loans so it could continue to operate during bankruptcy.
Commissioner Martha Aceves said the CPUC's decision would allow "PG & E declared bankruptcy." She was then drowned out by protesters in the crowd. Commission President Michael Picker said the decision did not "encourage or enable" the bankruptcy and not in any way endorsement of that decision.
The commission faced criticism.
Protesters accused the commission illegally and bailing out PG & E despite its role in wildfires.
"This is absolutely disgusting what you're doing right now," Jessica Tovar, a member of the group, Local Clean Energy Alliance, said during a public comment session.
Christopher Chow, a spokesman for the CPU, said in an email that it had met its noticing requirements for the meeting.