PG&E Shares Slump After California Governor Rejects Plan to Exit Bankruptcy Court

Gov. Newsom wants the utility operator to appoint a more qualified board and to set out operational and safety metrics. And he wants to create an enforcement process to ensure the utility meets those metrics.
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PG&E  (PCG) - Get Report has until tomorrow to revise its proposal to exit bankruptcy court after California Gov. Gavin Newsom called the utility operator's plan insufficient to protect customers.

Meantime, at last check in Monday trading PG&E shares were down 13% at $9.75.

In a Dec. 13 letter to the utility's chief executive, William Johnson, Newsom sad PG&E's plan doesn't create "a company positioned to provide safe, reliable and affordable service to its customers," which California law requires.

The governor and others have blamed the parent of Pacific Gas & Electric for causing a major pipeline explosion and several catastrophic wildfires. 

The company has taken the extreme step of creating rolling blackouts in regions within its coverage area, when the weather turns dry and windy and thus especially conducive to wildfires.

PG&E in January sought protection from its creditors under the bankruptcy laws, as it faced some $30 billion of liabilities due to the wildfires its equipment caused.

Newsom in his letter said he wanted PG&E to appoint a more qualified board and to set out operational and safety metrics. And he wants to create an enforcement process to ensure the utility meets those metrics.

The governor's letter also said PG&E's amended plan of reorganization leaves the company with "limited ability to withstand future financial and operational headwinds."

A spokeswoman for PG&E told the Los Angeles Times that the utility disagreed with the governor's assessment of the restructuring plan. She said PG&E would be "working diligently in the coming days to resolve any issues that may arise."

The LA Times also reported that state law did not require Newsom to approve the bankruptcy reorganization, but rather the utility asked the governor to express his opinion on the plan.

The company recently reached a $13.5 billion settlement with victims of some of the wildfires.