PG&E likely started Camp Fire, expects $10.5B bottom line impact

by Kim Boateng Posted on February 28th, 2019

California utility Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) said Thursday that its equipment likely sparked the deadliest and most destructive fire in the state’s history.

PG&E issued a statement along with its quarterly earning report stating information reported to the California Public Utilities Commission and other agencies indicates it was likely responsible for the Camp Fire, which caused 86 deaths.

“The company believes it is probable that its equipment will be determined to be an ignition point of the 2018 Camp Fire,” the utility said.

The Camp Fire burned 153,000 acres and destroyed nearly 14,000 homes, 528 commercial buildings and 4,300 other structures.

Additionally, PG&E alerted shareholders that it expects to pay $10.5 billion in charges as a result of its involvement in the fire.

The company is also recording a new $1 billion pre-tax charge related to the 2017 Atlas and Cascade fires in Northern California in addition to a $2.5 billion charge already recorded in the second quarter of 2018.

PG&E filed for bankruptcy in January, citing liabilities from the multiple wildfires totaling $30 billion.

“Throughout the Chapter 11 process, PG&E Corporation and the Utility remain committed to delivering safe and reliable electric and natural gas service to customers, and to continuing to make critical investments in system safety and maintenance,” the company said Thursday.

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