California power producer PG&E files amended reorganization plan

(Reuters) - California power producer PG&E Corp said late on Thursday that it has filed for an amended reorganization plan, adding that it remains on track to getting the plan confirmed before a June 2020 deadline to exit bankruptcy.

FILE PHOTO: Employees of Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) work in the aftermath of the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, U.S., November 14, 2018. REUTERS/Terray Sylvester/File Photo

The development comes less than a week after the company said it reached a $13.5 billion settlement with victims of some of the most devastating wildfires in California’s modern history.

PG&E has settled all major wildfire claims and resolved disputed release provisions between insurance companies and wildfire victims, it said on Thursday.

The company also said its plan can be fully funded through its capital structure, including the $12 billion equity backstop commitments that PG&E received last week.

The acceptance or rejection of the plan may not be obtained until the approval of a disclosure statement by the bankruptcy court, PG&E’s attorneys said in a court filing on Thursday.

On Thursday consumer advocate Erin Brockovich voiced support for the company’s reorganization plan. She is known for having fought PG&E in court over water contamination, a case depicted in an Academy Award-winning film starring Julia Roberts.

“This approach will also enable the company to continue to help meet the state’s climate and clean energy goals,” Brockovich said, adding that the plan was compensating the victims fairly.

The utility had previously reached a $1 billion settlement with cities, counties and other public entities and an $11 billion agreement with insurance carriers related to the wildfires.

It filed for Chapter 11 protection in January, citing potential liabilities in excess of $30 billion from wildfires in 2017 and 2018 linked to its equipment.

A probe by a state regulator concluded earlier this month that the company did not properly inspect and replace transmission lines before a faulty wire sparked a wildfire that killed more than 80 people in 2018.

PG&E came under renewed criticism this year for precautionary power outages to guard against the risk of wildfires posed by extremely dry and windy weather, as regulators and consumer activists labeled the company’s outages as being too broad without appropriate communication to customers.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar, Stephen Coates and David Evans