PG&E Corp., the California utility giant facing billions of dollars in wildfire liabilities, may notify employees as soon as Monday that it’s preparing a potential bankruptcy filing, according to people familiar with the situation.
The San Francisco-based utility owner is planning to send the notice to fulfill a state law that requires the company to alert workers at least 15 days before a change of control, said the people, asking not to be identified because the information isn’t public. The notice wouldn’t necessarily make a bankruptcy filing certain and the company could still decide not to if its situation changes, one of the people said.
PG&E declined to provide a statement, saying the company doesn’t comment on rumor or speculation.
A notice may signal that the company has accelerated plans to make a Chapter 11 filing as way of dealing with crippling liabilities from wildfires that tore through California in 2017 and 2018, killing over 100 people and destroying hundreds of thousands of acres. Investigators are probing whether PG&E’s equipment ignited the deadliest of the blazes. The company is facing as much as $30 billion in damages — a prospect that has wiped out two-thirds of PG&E’s market value, sent its bonds plummeting to record lows and prompted rating companies to downgrade PG&E’s debt to junk.