PG&E talking with banks about multibillion dollar bankruptcy financing package

PG&E chief executive leaving as utility readies for possible bankruptcy

PG&E Bankruptcy Filing Looming

John Simon, who served as PG&E's executive vice president and general counsel, will now be the utility's interim CEO until the board finds a permanent replacement and said the utility's "single most important responsibility" is safety.

Geisha Williams is stepping down as the CEO of PG&E Corp., the largest utility in the USA, while potential liability over recent California wildfires drives the company into bankruptcy. It has access to about $1.5 billion in existing cash.

The 150-year-old company said: "We recognise that the devastating and unprecedented Northern California wildfires of 2017 and 2018 have had a profound impact on our customers and their communities".

"It is clear that a solution is needed that enables the continued safe delivery of natural gas and electric service to our customers and supports the orderly, fair and expeditious resolution of PG&E's potential liabilities resulting from the recent wildfires".

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.

Pacific Gas and Electric, facing billions of dollars in claims over the deadly 2018 Camp Fire, is headed to bankruptcy court. "We believe John is the right interim leader for the company while we work to identify a new CEO". But PG&E has suggested it may be responsible.

Shares in the company are expected to fall by more than 50% when trading begins on Monday.

The company's deepening financial crisis has forced California regulators and policy makers to consider a bailout package and PG&E.

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Fire officials have not yet officially said what caused the blaze, but have focused on power equipment.

This announcement comes a day after the company's CEO Geisha Williams resigned.

State fire investigators blamed the utility's power lines for causing a number of California wildfires in October 2017.

The full press release from PG&E can be found on its website. In a PG&E report last month, the company outlined how employees discovered damaged power towers minutes before the Camp Fire broke out.

Williams knew the risks that she faced because of wildfires liabilities.

Gov. Gavin Newsom was quick to respond to the bankruptcy announcment, issuing a statement early Monday.

While state lawmakers rejected PG&E's request to change wildfire liability law, they did pass legislation in August that will help PG&E pay for lawsuits arising from the wine country fires.

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