The company could take billions of dollars of liabilities from fatal blazes in 2018 and 2017, with analysts covering the stock estimating it to be between US$24 billion to US$30 billion.
In weighing a bankruptcy filing, PG&E Corp. officials - whether intentionally or not - are putting the pressure on California legislators to bail them out. Because of potential legislative aid, PG&E has not yet determined whether it will make a bankruptcy filing, Reuters reported.
Similarly, State Farm said that PG&E was "failing to keep the power lines, wires, and any and all associated equipment in a safe condition at all times to prevent fires". And that's compounding financial woes the company was already facing after other fires destroyed parts of wine country a year earlier. But that is just a possibility, they said, so bankruptcy preparations are being made.
The utility has faced tremendous scrutiny over the last decade, starting with a 2010 gas explosion that killed eight people in San Bruno and continuing with among the deadliest and most destructive fires in state history, some of which may have been sparked by PG&E's infrastructure.
Reuters reported past year that the company was working with bankruptcy advisors. California lawmakers have passed a law that would protect the company from the 2017 fire and fires in 2019 and after but not the 2018 fire.
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"While we think that sufficient support for such a bill could eventually be rallied, exploitive tactics and a reticence toward change will not improve PCG's public profile and will not significantly accelerate the process for legislation", the two analysts wrote, referring to the company's ticker.
Bankruptcy "should be considered a credible risk by shareholders", they said.
PG&E announced the assessment of its finances in a news release that did not elaborate on any potential plans. Safety is and will continue to be our top priority as we work to determine the best path forward for all of our stakeholders.
"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.
Citing "people familiar with the matter", Reuters reported PG&E was also considering filing for bankruptcy protection for some or all of its businesses.