PG&E filed a proposal on Monday with a federal court that plots a road map for the utility to navigate out of bankruptcy and pay off its creditors, including numerous victims of wildfires linked to the company — although the plan caps wildfire-related claims at $16.9 billion.
The reorganization plan proposed by PG&E would cap payments to wildfire victims who filed claims directly against PG&E at $8.4 billion, papers filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Monday show.
The proposal also would cap payments to insurance carriers that are seeking reimbursement from PG&E for wildfire claims they paid their customers at $8.5 billion, according to the plan filed in connection with PG&Es Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
“This is outrageous,” said Gerald Singleton, an attorney who represents about 5,500 wildfire victims. “PG&E is shortchanging the wildfire victims and is attempting to evade its responsibility.”
PG&E also agreed to pay $1 billion to compensate public entities.
Some estimates have placed PG&Es wildfire-linked liabilities in the vicinity of $15 billion to $20 billion, or even as high as $30 billion.
“Under the plan we filed today, we will meet our commitment to fairly compensate wildfire victims and we will emerge from Chapter 11 financially sound and able to continue meeting Californias clean energy goals,” PG&E Chief Executive Officer Bill Johnson said in a prepared release.
PG&E said it would employ a combination of debt and stock to raise the cash to help finance its exit from bankruptcy.
But PG&Es bankruptcy case could eventually trigger higher monthly power bills for the utilitys customers, depending on the final plan for financial reorganization that is approved by the bankruptcy judge and eventually reviewed by the state Public Utilities Commission.
The company, though, indicated that the proposal in its current form wouldnt necessarily raise rates.
“Its rate neutral for customers,” PG&E said in comments emailed to this news organization.
On Jan. 29, PG&E filed for a Chapter 11 filing to reorganize its finances, listing $51.69 billion in debts and $71.39 billion in assets after facing a forbidding mountain of wildfire-related claims and other liabilities.
PG&E cautioned that the actual amount of payments for wildfire-linked claims cant be determined until other court proceeds are complete, including a state court case to determine whether PG&E is liable for the lethal Tubbs Fire in the North Bay Wine Country in 2017.
“The plan is a framework for compensating wildfire victims and other stakeholders,” PG&E said in the email. “And its a critical step in a multi-step process which will be updated as developments require.”
The utility is already a convicted felon for crimes it committed before and after a fatal explosion of natural gas in San Bruno that killed eight. The lethal blast was caused by a combination of PG&Es flawed record keeping and shoddy maintenance, along with lazy and ineffective oversight by the state Public Utilities Commission, federal investigators determined in 2011.
State fire investigators have determined that PG&Es equipment was the cause of 17 destructive fires in 2017. HoweRead More – Source