PG&E Bankruptcy Talk Sets Stage for Showdown With California

A PG&E truck carrying an American Flag drives past PG&E repair trucks in Paradise

A PG&E truck carrying an American Flag drives past PG&E repair trucks in Paradise California

This follows Friday's report by Reuters saying the utility is considering the move for some or all of its businesses.

Investigators have not pinpointed a cause for the fire.

Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano on the lawsuit against PG&E over the California wildfires.

UBS 's Daniel Ford reiterated a Neutral rating on the shares but raised his price target by $3, to $29, as he believes that recent disclosures support the company's position that it was not responsible for the 2017 Tubbs fire.

The lawsuits filed by Allstate, State Farm, USAA and their subsidiaries come on top of several other cases filed by victims of the Camp Fire, which devastated the towns of Paradise, Magalia and Concow north of Sacramento after it started November 8. The filing isn't certain, the people said, but it may be enough to force the hand of state legislators who could come up with a rescue package.

The California utility faces billions of dollars of liabilities as a results of wildfires over the past two years. The company could be engaged in similar brinkmanship now, he said. They'll have to decide whether to allow the company to pass some of the costs of the fire through to taxpayers, Katie Bays and Clayton Allen, analysts at Height Securities LLC, said in a note on Monday.

PG&E shares have plunged almost 50% since November 8, when the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history broke out. Lawmakers were in talks late past year for legislation to protect the company from liabilities related to the 2018 fires. It would extend legislation that allows PG&E to issue bonds to pay off the costs tied to the 2017 blazes. But they added that "exploitive tactics and a reticence toward change will not improve" the company's profile.

Bankruptcy "should be considered a credible risk by shareholders", they said.

Also in December, PG&E requested a 12% rate hike in 2020 to help fund a community wildfire safety program, insurance liabilities, and core gas and electric operations. "We recognize the need to balance the interests of many stakeholders while maintaining safe, reliable, and affordable services for our customers, which is always our top priority".

"We want to tap fresh perspectives and additional expertise to help address the changing nature of PG&E's business and the challenges it faces now and in the future", the board said in a statement.

But that is just a possibility, according to sources contacted by Reuters.

A bankruptcy filing is not PG&E's preference for addressing liabilities from the catastrophic blazes, some of the sources said.

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