PG&E CEO steps down amid looming bankruptcy

PG&E CEO steps down as liabilities linked to wildfires push the company to bankruptcy preparations.

Power lines Source: Bloomberg

PG&E CEO, Geisha Williams has stepped down from her position on Sunday, amid pressure from liabilities linked to the historic California wildfires, leaving the company on the brink of bankruptcy.

The company is being investigated for the carnage and damage from the 2017 and 2018 California wildfires that devistated the californian town of Paradise, killing an estimated 88 pepople.

The utility owner is facing an estimated $30 billion lawsuit which exceeds its insurance and assets, which could force the company to start preparing for bankruptcy.

The company said on Sunday they would replace Ms Williams with general counsel John Simon on an interim basis.

‘While we are making progress as a company in safety and other areas, the Board recognizes the tremendous challenges PG&E continues to face.

We believe John is the right interim leader for the company,’ PG&E chairman Richard Kelly said in a statement.

The California Public Utilities Commission has put pressure on the company to make operational changes after it announced in January that it would be reviewing structural and saftey options.

PG&E has since been in discussions with banks for a multibillion-dollar bankruptcy financing package to aid operations during bankruptcy proceedings.

According to Bloomberg media reports, the company prepares to alert employees of its potential bankruptcy as early as Monday.

PG&E equipment responsible for wildfires

Fire investigators had previously determined that PG&E’s equipment was responsible for at least 18 of the major fires in 2017 and 2018, as a result of power lines coming into contact with un-trimmed trees.

On Friday last week, the company announced it would help its Paradise customers and communities rebuild and recover by restoring gas and electricity services to almost all its Paradise customers.
It announced that PG&E crews had repaired and tested gas mains in Paradise in a bid to help the community rebuild after the devastation.

Many believe the move comes too late, as the company had previously faced criticism over safety issues and negligeance.

PG&E share price plummets

PG&E shares have dropped 26% in January, and have dropped 60% over the past 12 months.

Upon the news today, the PG&E share price dropped almost 1% trading at $17.58 at time of writing.

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