Pacific Gas and Electric said on Monday that it would seek bankruptcy protection as “the only viable option” as the giant #California
utility faces billions of dollars in liability claims from two years of deadly #wildfires
The company’s troubles pose a challenge to the state’s elected officials and regulators, who will ultimately decide whether part of the solution will be raising already high #electricity
rates. The problems could also make it harder to achieve California’s ambitious goals for #renewableenergy
Experts said #PG
&E’s predicament could be an early indicator of a wider economic toll from #climatechange
, which is making wildfires more frequent and destructive.(supposedly) At the same time, the financial straits could handicap the utility’s ability to step up the kind of preventive measures it has been faulted for neglecting, like trimming #trees
and brush around power lines and transformers.
For Gov. Gavin Newsom, who took office last week, the #bankruptcy
disrupts an agenda that until now had focused on early childhood education, paid parental leave and the expansion of the state’s health care program to cover more undocumented residents.