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Analyzing PG&E’s First Settlement after Bankruptcy

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PG&E’s first settlement

California cities and counties are expected to be the first beneficiaries of claims against losses from deadly wildfires last year. According to the Wall Street Journal, PG&E (PCG) agreed to pay $1 billion to various California cities, counties, and agencies in order to settle claims for losses from the Camp Fire.

Camp Fire, the deadliest wildfire in California’s history, killed 85 people and burned more than 18,800 structures last November. PG&E’s settlement is subject to bankruptcy court approval. The settlement doesn’t impact individual or business claims.

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PG&E filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on January 29. The company faces ~$30 billion in potential liabilities associated with wildfires in 2017 and 2018.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection blamed PG&E for causing the devastating wildfire last year. Last month, the state agency said that transmission lines owned by PG&E ignited the fire in Butte County, which rapidly spread across the dry vegetation.

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Counterparties struggle to strike a deal

In a different development, power producers are struggling to settle their power purchase agreements with PG&E due to its bankruptcy proceedings. According to Reuters, NextEra Energy (NEE), Consolidated Edison (ED), and Calpine are trying to reverse a court ruling. The ruling said that a federal regulator doesn’t have a say in whether PG&E decides to reject its power purchase contracts while in bankruptcy.

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