PG&E faces liability, bankruptcy during recent wildfires despite shutting off power

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- What liability is PG&E is facing from the latest fires? And what does this mean in regards to their bankruptcy situation? ABC7 News contributor Phil Matier weighs in.

PG&E has been conducting Public Safety Power Shutoffs in precaution to an increased fire risk from dry and windy weather conditions all across the bay. The utility also admitted their power lines may be responsible for starting two fires in Lafayette on Sunday.

RELATED: Gov. Gavin Newsom slams PG&E for mismanagement, greed as cause of wildfire remains under investigation

"PG&E is in a damned if they do turn off the power, they're damned if they don't because they're responsible for anything that happens with those lines, whether it's their fault or not," says Matier. "They're damned for what they did in the past, or what they didn't do, which was maintain those lines. We're damned too because we're in the middle of it."

PG&E, California's biggest public utility company filed bankruptcy in Jan, 2019 with 30 billion dollars of liability from California Wildfires.

In Monday's press conference, California Governor Gavin Newsom criticized the public utility for their maintenance and equipment.

RELATED: PG&E tower near ignition point of Sonoma County wildfire was not shut off, had broken equipment

"The biggest and most stubborn reality is utilities and they have to modernize their equipment and have to get this thing through bankruptcy and come on the other side as a completely re-imagined operation as more resilient and more safety-focused and i think we've got the protocols and procedures in place to do that," says Newsom.

Matier mentions that it is going to take many years and lots of money for PG&E to get back and running. With power lines being easily sparked right next to urban communities and a growing liability of 30 million dollars and growing, the urgency for holding PG&E accountable is great responsibility.

In recent press conferences, Newsom continues to remind the public that they are conducting hearings with PG&E and other investors across the state to address the issues of public safety.

Go here for more information on the PG&E Public Safety Power Shutoff.

Go here for more information about the Kincade Fire.
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