PG&E seeks bankruptcy protection; Newsom urges utility to 'honor promises'


PG&E announced Williams's departure Sunday and its plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy a day later.

On the PG&E website, the company stated it would, "initiate voluntary reorganization proceedings under Chapter 11".

PG&E, the state's largest utility, said Monday it will file for bankruptcy on January 29, after a 14-day waiting period required by California law.

PG&E released a statement Sunday thanking Geisha Williams for her service.

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

PG&E could be on the hook for tens of billions of dollars for its potential role in California's devastating Camp Fire a year ago - the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in the state's history.

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The utility holding company said it did not see any impact to electric or natural gas services for its customers as a result of a bankruptcy. "PG&E remains committed to assisting the communities affected by wildfires in Northern California, and its restoration and rebuilding efforts will continue". The company said it would look to hire a new chief executive with "extensive operational and safety expertise". "We believe John is the right interim leader for the company while we work to identify a new CEO".

The company's board made a decision to oust CEO Geisha Williams and undergo a restructuring at a board meeting this weekend in San Francisco, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The Camp Fire, the most deadly and destructive fire in state history, has yet to be assigned an official cause, but PG&E reporting having an equipment malfunction near the spot around the same time the fire ignited.

The company has about $1.5 billion in cash heading into bankruptcy and is negotiating with lenders to get about $5.5 billion more in debtor-in-possession financing to stay in business and continue providing power and gas to millions of Californians, according to Reuters.

Pacific Gas and Electric said last month it determined weather conditions were no longer risky enough to warrant a massive power shut off on November 8 - a decision that came as a massive fire was tearing through a Northern California town. That blaze killed at least 86 people, destroyed 14,000 homes and leveled Paradise, a city of 27,000 residents.