PG&E Forges Ahead Without Newsom’s Approval

Holly Quan
December 17, 2019 - 10:10 am
PGE Truck

PG&E is moving forward with its restructuring plan even after Governor Newsom rejected it, saying it fell "woefully short" of safety standards.

The utility company will present its restructuring plan, which includes a proposed $13.5 billion settlement reached with the group representing wildfire victims, in front of U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali Tuesday. The hearing comes after PG&E announced Monday that it had revised the plan so that it no longer required the Newsom to sign off.

Newsom rejected the plan on Friday, saying it did include enough measures to ensure the company could provide safe and affordable power moving forward. It also failed to meet safety standards set by AB 1054, a new state law setting up a fund that would protect PG&E and other utilities from future wildfire liability.

The company needs to emerge from bankruptcy by June 30 in order to tap into the fund.

PG&E says it plans to fully comply with AB 1054 and will work to address the Newsom's concerns, and may reveal more details about those plans in court today.

State Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) has watched wildfires devastate his district. He wants to see more provisions that would ensure the company’s stability.

“We need to have a company that’s financially viable when it comes out of bankruptcy because we can’t possibly have a third bankruptcy. We’ve had two in 20 years," said Dodd. "We should have some benchmarks as well in this plan in terms of, if they’re not successful, how this thing can be turned into a public power company for example, as opposed to this investor-owned format that we have now.”

Newsom has suggested that if PG&E can't emerge from bankruptcy by the June 30 deadline, Judge Montali should appoint a trustee to run it.