PG&E files for Chapter 11 reorganisation

29 January 2019

PG&E Corporation and its primary operating subsidiary Pacific Gas & Electric Company - operator of California's Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant - has today filed for reorganisation under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California.

The Tubbs Fire caused extensive damage in October 2017 (Image: SFC Benjamin Cossel/DVIDS)

The utility earlier this month said it intended to use the Court-supervised Chapter 11 process to facilitate the "orderly, fair and expeditious resolution" of the liabilities that it faced in connection with wildfires in Northern California in 2017 and 2018.

California's Department of Forestry and Fire Protection - also known as CAL FIRE - earlier this week released the results of its investigation concluding that PG&E equipment did not cause the Tubbs Fire of October 2017, which burned a total of 36,807 acres, destroyed 5,636 structures and resulted in 22 civilian fatalities and one firefighter injury.

PG&E said its decision to pursue reorganisation under Chapter 11, conducted with the assistance of independent legal and financial advisors, took into account the company's "longstanding belief based on available evidence" its equipment had not caused the Tubbs Fire. "As such, PG&E continues to believe that the Chapter 11 process will facilitate the orderly, fair and expeditious resolution of the liabilities that have arisen and will continue to arise in connection with the 2017 and 2018 Northern California wildfires," the company said.

Ahead of the filing, PG&E said it did not expect any not expect any impact to electric or natural gas services for its customers as result of the Chapter 11 process. The company said today it has also filed a motion for court approval to enter into a USD5 million agreement to provide it with "debtor-in-possession" financing that will provide it with the capital it needs to ensure essential maintenance and continued investments in safety and reliability for the expected duration of the Chapter 11 cases.

"Through this process, we will prioritise what matters most to our customers and the communities we serve - safety and reliability. We believe that this process will make sure that we have sufficient liquidity to serve our customers and support our operations and obligations," PG&E Corporation Interim CEO John Simon said.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company in August 2016 announced plans to retire Diablo Canyon's two pressurised water reactors - the only remaining nuclear generating capacity in California - at the end of their current operating licences, which expire in 2024 for unit 1 and 2025 for unit 2.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News