Pacific Gas and Electric Co. announced the departure of its chief executive Sunday as it remained besieged by a financial crisis related to the state’s historic wildfires.
PG&E said the company had initiated a search to replace the top official, Geisha Williams, who has led the utility since 2016. It said John Simon, the company’s general counsel, would serve as interim chief executive during the search.
PG&E, California’s largest investor-owned utility, faces an estimated $30 billion exposure to liability for damages from the 2017 and 2018 wildfires that killed scores in Northern California. The sum would exceed its insurance and assets, raising concern in the state capital about the utility’s future.
A newspaper says employees of PG&E could learn this week if the utility will declare insolvency.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported Sunday that under a new state law, PG&E must tell its employees at least 15 days before a change of control in the company — including a bankruptcy filing.
That notice may come as soon as Monday. The news was first reported by Bloomberg.
PG&E is in discussions with lenders about a financing package worth up to $5 billion. It would allow the company to continue operating during Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.
State fire investigators blamed the utility’s power lines for causing a number of California wildfires in October 2017.
— From The Press Democrat news wires