"They are suffering the most", she said.
Although fire officials said PG&E is not to blame for the 2017 Tubbs Fire that took 22 lives, the cause of the 2018 Camp Fire that killed 86 people is still under investigation.
These liabilities dwarf PG&E's roughly $1.5 billion in liability insurance coverage, and are almost seven times its current market capitalization of $7.5 billion as of Tuesday morning.
PG&E says it believes the bankruptcy process will facilitate the orderly, fair and expeditious resolution of the companies' liabilities that have arisen and will continue to arise in connection to the 2017 and 2018 Northern California wildfires.
A consortium including Paul Singer's Elliott Management Corp. sent a proposal on Monday backed by US$4 billion of bonds that could convert into shares of PG&E, one person with knowledge of the matter said.
The wildfire lawsuits accuse PG&E of inadequate maintenance, including not adequately trimming trees and clearing brush around electrical lines, and failing to shut off power when fire risk is high. Filing for bankruptcy does not generally put criminal proceedings on hold, said Jared Ellias, a bankruptcy attorney who now teaches at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. "We don't know yet what that will be". Last year, lawmakers gave it permission to raise rates to cover wildfire losses from 2017.
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- A federal bankruptcy judge in San Francisco on Tuesday scheduled a hearing for Thursday on 17 preliminary motions by PG&E Co.in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy case.
His home in Napa County was destroyed in 2017 in a fire that investigators say started when an oak tree fell onto a PG&E power line. He sued PG&E hoping to "close the gap". "This is the type of thing we're going to see a lot more, unfortunately, because of climate change", MacWilliams said.
A series of devastating wildfires that killed more than 100 people and scorched hundreds of thousands of acres in California over the course of two years just brought one of America's largest utilities to its knees. They will now have to fight for their money in bankruptcy court, she said. Judge Dennis Montali did not rule on any requests by PG&E, including approval for up to $5.5 billion in bankruptcy financing.
He told PG&E attorneys, "I want to make sure people understand that this is not set up (just) for you and your clients". The only time the company has ever faced such dire financial straits was during the 2001 energy crisis, when it was forced to place its utility unit in bankruptcy protection.
California already has a number of large, publicly owned utilities including the Sacramento Municipal Utility District and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. But he said the bankruptcy case and the criminal matter before Alsup would overlap a great deal, so it would be "hard to imagine both going forward, as the judges could enter conflicting orders". To reach that goal, the state and its utilities must upgrade the grid and invest in major infrastructure projects such as wind and solar farms, batteries to help balance the different sources of renewable energy, and electric vehicle charging stations.
PG&E's bankruptcy filing made clear that it will continue its operations, including fire prevention efforts.