The California wildfires have caused the deaths of 86 individuals, destroyed more than 14,000 homes, and 500 businesses, now it can add one more to the list.
This week PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric) announced that they are filing for chapter eleven bankruptcy protection as a result of their part in the wildfires. It has been speculated that the fire initially began when a PG&E power line fell in an area where the flames first ignited amongst the trees. PG&E had reported that one of their transmission lines was “out” in the area mere moments before the fire began.
PG&E stated that they have lost nearly $30 billion in liability charges due to this incident. On Sunday it was announced that chief executive Geisha Williams will be stepping down from her position as a result.
The company’s stock has dropped over 50 percent to $8.38 per share. The company has lost an estimated two-thirds of their value since the fires first began in November. At their highest estimates PG&E was the largest investor owned utility company in California. They serviced over 16 million customers and were valued at over $36 billion.
The company will officially file petitions to reorganize under chapter 11 with the securities and exchange commission on January 29th. This date was chosen because they are required by California law to give employees 15 days’ notice prior to filing. The company has over 20,000 employees who will soon be looking for work elsewhere.