PG&E posts quarterly loss on fire claims, on track to exit Chapter 11 by June 30

California utility hurt by $5 billion in charges for third party claims for fires in 2015, 2017 and 2018

(Reuters) - California power producer PG&E Corp said on Tuesday it was on track to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy by June 30 and that it plans to spend about $37 billion to $41 billion over the next five years to safeguard its equipment as it posted another quarterly loss on claims related to fires.

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The company is restructuring amid Chapter 11 proceedings, trying to bounce back from the negative publicity caused after its equipment in California was blamed for deadly, historic wildfires.

PG&E needs to exit bankruptcy by June 30 to participate in a state-backed fund that would help power utilities cushion the hit from wildfires.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
PCGPG & E CORP.9.14+0.01+0.11%

But past wildfires took its toll on the company again, with it posting another fourth-quarter loss hurt by $5 billion in charges for third party claims for fires in 2015, 2017 and 2018. The company's net loss narrowed to $3.6 billion, or $6.84 per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, from $6.9 billion, or $13.24 per share, a year earlier.

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PG&E had filed for Chapter 11 protection in January 2019, citing potential liabilities in excess of $30 billion from deadly wildfires in 2017 and 2018 linked to its equipment.

A Pacific Gas & Electric truck leaves the company's Oakland Service Center Feb. 11, 2020, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

The company's planned infrastructure investments would result in a nearly 8% growth in rate-base, which refers to the value of properties on which a utility is allowed to earn returns.

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PG&E, which last month reached a deal on its restructuring with creditors who were pushing for a rival plan, is facing opposition from California Governor Gavin Newsom, who has threatened a state takeover of the utility.

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(Reporting by Nishara Karuvalli Pathikkal in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)