FERC claims 'concurrent jurisdiction' in PG&E-NextEra bankruptcy dispute

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Instead, they will have to tussle with PG&E's creditors, including bondholders, for a payout from the company.

The company, which points to $71.4 billion in assets and $51.7 billion in liabilities, faces about 700 claims filed by at least 3,600 plaintiffs in relation to fires from 2017 alone, according to a filing by chief financial officer Jason Wells.

The move comes despite state investigators determining last week that the utility's equipment was not to blame for a 2017 fire that killed 22 people in Northern California wine country. But the California Public Utilities Commission told the judge on Monday that his proposed order "will in all likelihood conflict with and frustrate the extensive federal statutory and state Constitutional and statutory regulatory scheme under which the CPUC regulates PG&E", and that any pre-emptive de-energizing of the grid must be done "selectively" and "under carefully considered, specified conditions".

The PG&E bankruptcy "is sort of a test case for how utilities and other major infrastructure players are going to deal with climate change, and who's going to be responsible for it, and who's going to be accountable", said John MacWilliams, a fellow at Columbia University's Center on Global Energy Policy.

NextEra earlier this month asked FERC to block the utility from amending or rejecting PPAs with several providers.

Riddle attended the first court hearing on PG&E's bankruptcy Tuesday.

Total insured losses from California's major wildfires previous year now stand at $12.4 billion, California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara said in a Monday press conference.

Some consumer advocates and lawyers for fire victims have warned that the bankruptcy filing could lead to higher rates for consumers and make it harder for people affected by the fires to receive compensation, the New York Times reports.

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PG&E Corporation and its primary operating subsidiary Pacific Gas & Electric Company - operator of California's Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant - has today filed for reorganisation under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California.

PG&E has been linked to a series of wildfires in California, including the Camp Fire, which caused 86 deaths and destroyed 14,000 homes, along with more than 500 businesses and 4,300 other buildings. Investigators say the blaze started when an oak tree fell onto a PG&E power line.

California's wildfires have in the past saddled utilities with millions of dollars in damages, but never have the blazes exacted such a massive financial toll from a company-creating one of the country's largest utility bankruptcies of all time.

"What assurance can I give my constituents that things are going to be safer this year?"

Dodd authored last year's wildfire liability law that sought to stabilize PG&E's finances and avoid bankruptcy.

FILE - In this November 10, 2018 file photo, with a downed power utility pole in the foreground, Eric England, right, searches through a friend's vehicle after the wildfire burned through Paradise, Calif.

California has set a goal of getting 100 percent of its electricity from carbon-free sources such as wind, solar and hydropower by 2045. He said PG&E needs to find a more sustainable way to deliver energy.

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