By: Sitta T
PG&E has seen its fair share of problematic oversights over the past two years, and now the chickens have apparently come home to roost. The company filed for a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection on January 14, which was fully processed at the end of January. According to CNBC’s reports, U. S. District Judge, William Alsups’ January 9th order will cost PG&E at least $30 billion in potential liability costs due to their part in the wildfires in both 2017 and 2018, many of which were apparently started by the company’s equipment. Consequently, state officials have come to doubt the safety of the company’s electric distribution system; investigators have already determined PG&E’s equipment was liable in at least 17 major wildfires in 2017 , and are still working to determine if the company’s equipment were partly responsible for November’s campfires near Paradise, which killed at least 86 people and destroyed about 14,000 homes, making it the state’s deadliest fire. $30 billion dollars is a great deal of money, how is the company which has lost over 70% of its net worth going to pay for these damages, through there consumers, most likely.
The liabilities has created a huge cloud of doubt over the company’s stock potential and dependability; as of Monday (Jan.14th), they have lost 50% on their stock market value. Stakeholders are rightfully concerned as they may quite possibly lose all their shares. In addition, there is the rightfully growing concern among some of the 16 million Northern Californias who depend solely on PG&E for their energy supply, the company’s statement in there court filing that “PG&E would inevitably need to turn to California ratepayers for funding, resulting in a substantial increase — an estimated one-year increase of more than five times current rates in typical utility bills,” is even more alarming. The company has been ordered to clean up some of the mess created by the previous fires, and also to take preventative actions, to eliminate the possibilities of future equipment related fire, this process will require an estimate of 65,000 new employees, the logistics of which seem unbearable for the company at the moment.
This wouldn’t be the first time that PG&E has forced its customers to pay for their questionable decisions; in June 2016, PG&E announced its plans to close down the Diablo Canyon Power Plant, its electricity-generating nuclear power plant near Avila beach in San Luis Obispo County, California, although the reactors are only expected to be fully de-commissioned in the Diablo2024 and 2025, consumers have already started to foot the bills for those costs. Northern Californians have growing concerns about how much more of an increase they are expected to see in their bills in the coming months or years, to cover all these settlements. PG&E- is a subsidiary Pacific Gas and Electric expects no interruptions to electric or gas services, however, your electrical bills are likely to increase dramatically over the next few months and years.