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PG&E bondholders propose competing bankruptcy plan worth up to $30 billion

Kitco News

(Reuters) - A committee of bondholders of PG&E Corp’s utility unit on Tuesday proposed filing a bankruptcy reorganization plan that would inject up to $30 billion, primarily equity, to help the California power provider emerge from Chapter 11 and address its liability from wildfires.

In a filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in San Francisco, the committee of senior unsecured noteholders of Pacific Gas & Electric Co also sought to terminate the utility’s exclusive period for filing a Chapter 11 reorganization plan so the committee may file its own plan.

The committee said “the need to exit bankruptcy expeditiously is paramount” and PG&E has been too slow to file a plan.

San Francisco-based PG&E sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January in the aftermath of devastating wildfires in Northern California in 2017 and 2018 that left the company anticipating $30 billion in liabilities blamed on its equipment.

The worst of the blazes, November’s Camp Fire, leveled the town of Paradise and killed more than 80 people. It was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire of modern times in California.

The committee in its filing said its plan would provide up to $16 billion to compensate all of PG&E’s pre-bankruptcy wildfire claims.

The plan also will provide a “substantial” capital investment to fund improvements to PG&E’s electric infrastructure to ensure reliable power service and meet California’s renewable energy goals, the committee said.

The committee added its plan will provide for a quick exit from bankruptcy for PG&E that maintains an investment-grade rating for the power provider.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York and Jim Christie in San Francisco; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Matthew Lewis

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