August 9, 2019 / 1:35 PM / 9 days ago

PG&E sees billions more in wildfire costs in 2019

(Reuters) - Crippled California power company PG&E Corp (PCG.N) reported a rise in quarterly losses on Friday and forecast more costs related to the 2017 and 2018 wildfires that have forced it to file for bankruptcy and seek new public and private financial support.

FILE PHOTO: PG&E works on power lines to repair damage caused by the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, U.S. November 21, 2018. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage/File Photo

The company now expects costs for the year of $3.8 billion to $4.1 billion after-tax, compared with $1 billion to $1.4 billion seen earlier.

The San Francisco-based utility filed for bankruptcy this past January, citing potential liabilities of more than $30 billion stemming from the wildfires.

The forecast includes about $1.51 billion to $1.48 billion in costs for the 2017 Northern California wildfires and $1.61 billion to $1.58 billion related to the 2018 Camp Fire blaze.

The Camp Fire wildfire erupted in November of 2018, destroyed nearly 19,000 homes and killed 85 - making it the deadliest single wildfire in California history.

In May, state fire investigators determined that PG&E transmission lines caused the fire.

The company on Friday reported a wider net loss attributable to shareholders of $2.55 billion or $4.83 per share in the quarter ended June 30, from $984 million or $1.91 per share, a year earlier. (bit.ly/2TimI7S)

The loss was mainly from a $3.9 billion pre-tax charge for estimated third-party claims related to the wildfires.

Excluding items, the company reported a profit of $1.10 per share, beating analysts’ estimates of 98 cents, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Total operating revenue fell to $3.94 billion from $4.23 billion.

Reporting by Shanti S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr

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