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US California utility scrambles to renegotiate wildfire deal

00:55  15 december  2019
00:55  15 december  2019 Source:   msn.com

How AI is helping spot fires faster

  How AI is helping spot fires faster As wildfire season raged in California this fall, a startup a few states away used artificial intelligence to pinpoint the location of blazes there within minutes — in some cases far faster than these fires might otherwise be noticed by firefighters or civilians. © European Space Agency via Descartes Labs Kincade Fire in Northern California, as shot by the Sentinel-2 satellite on October 27. Santa Fe-based Descartes Labs, which uses AI to analyze satellite imagery, launched its US wildfire detector in July.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom's opposition to Pacific Gas & Electric's restructuring plan just a week after it struck a .5 billion settlement with fire victims is forcing the nation's largest utility to go back to the negotiating table and come up with a solution fairly quickly. The San.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom's opposition to Pacific Gas & Electric's restructuring plan is forcing the nation's largest utility to go back to the The San Francisco-based company needs to pull a deal off to meet a June 30 deadline to emerge from bankruptcy protection and regain its financial footing.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom's opposition to Pacific Gas & Electric's restructuring plan just a week after it struck a $13.5 billion settlement with fire victims is forcing the nation's largest utility to go back to the negotiating table and come up with a solution fairly quickly.

PG&E Reaches $13.5 Billion Deal With Wildfire Victims

  PG&E Reaches $13.5 Billion Deal With Wildfire Victims After months of tense negotiations, Pacific Gas & Electric and lawyers for victims of wildfires that killed dozens of people and destroyed tens of thousands of homes and businesses agreed on Friday to a multibillion-dollar legal settlement. The victims wouldn’t receive all of the $13.5 billion that is being made available under the agreement. Some of it would go toward paying the claims of federal and state agencies, and the victims’ lawyers would receive a portion. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

New California law helps utilities with wildfire lawsuits. The utility expects to pay billions of dollars in wildfire damages and has sought ways to limit its liability through the courts and Legislature. Stewart Munnerlyn was scrambling to find generators to save ,000 worth of ice cream at his

In Northern California , Pacific Gas & Electric for the first time began cutting power Sunday night to tens of The utility expects to pay billions of dollars in wildfire damages and has sought ways to limit its liability through the Stewart Munnerlyn was scrambling to find generators to save ,000 worth of

The San Francisco-based company needs to pull a deal off to meet a June 30 deadline to emerge from bankruptcy protection and regain its financial footing.

Missing the deadline would prevent PG&E from being able to draw from a special fund created by the Democratic governor and state lawmakers to help insulate California utilities from future fires that many people believe are bound to erupt as a changing climate continues to create hazardous conditions. Utilities are at risk because their aging electric transmission lines are expected to take years to upgrade.

On Thursday, PG&E filed an amended reorganization plan with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court after reaching a settlement on Dec. 6 with thousands of people who lost homes, businesses and family members in a series of devastating fires.

Northern California Power Outages Could Soar If Aging Lines Aren't Replaced, PG&E Study Finds

  Northern California Power Outages Could Soar If Aging Lines Aren't Replaced, PG&E Study Finds Sustained power outages caused by electric-wire failures in Northern California could double or even quadruple in years to come unless PG&E Corp. steps up its replacement of aging equipment, according to a utility-commissioned analysis. PG&E’s current rate of electric-line replacement falls far short of what’s needed to prevent a surge of failures due to the effects of aging, according to the analysis by researchers at Georgia Tech.

Pacific Gas and Electric, California ’s largest utility , serving more than 16 million people, filed for What is PG&E’s role in California ’s wildfires ? Equipment owned and maintained by the utility The utility will be able to renegotiate its energy contracts with suppliers to secure lower rates, and that

Northern California 's biggest utility has shut off power to tens of thousands of customers in an unprecedented step to prevent wildfires amid rising However, many said Monday they had received little or no notice. Stewart Munnerlyn was scrambling to find generators to save ,000 worth of ice

In his letter on Friday, Newsom said the plan does not comply with state law and does not achieve the goal of addressing what he considers its most important elements: providing safe and reliable power to PG&E customers.

“In my judgment, the amended plan and the restructuring transactions do not result in a reorganized company positioned to provide safe, reliable, and affordable service," he said.

The governor said PG&E’s plan did not go far enough in improving safety, corporate governance and the company’s financial position. The company has until Tuesday to appease Newsom and get him to sign off on the plan.

“We’ve welcomed feedback from all stakeholders throughout these proceedings and will continue to work diligently in the coming days to resolve any issues that may arise,” PG&E said in a statement.

Without the added protection of the California wildfire fund, PG&E would likely find it more difficult to borrow money to pay for the necessary upgrades and perhaps even fund its ongoing operations if it remains mired in bankruptcy proceedings beyond June 30.

After Deal With Fire Victims, PG&E Bankruptcy Still Far From Settled

  After Deal With Fire Victims, PG&E Bankruptcy Still Far From Settled California’s largest utility is still in limbo. © Jeff Chiu/Associated Press A Pacific Gas & Electric building in San Francisco. Two weeks ago Pacific Gas & Electric appeared to have cleared a big obstacle to resolving its bankruptcy by reaching a settlement with victims of wildfires started by the utility’s equipment. But late last week Gov. Gavin Newsom raised fresh objections to the company’s proposed restructuring, as rival groups of hedge funds vying for control of PG&E are seeking to change the terms of the utility’s proposed $13.5 billion settlement with wildfire victims.

As wildfires ravage large swaths of California for a second year, one of the Many fires in recent years have been caused by downed power lines serving California ’s utilities . Investors have been scrambling to assess the size of the financial hit that PG&E might suffer and whether the company

Never before have California utilities intentionally put so many people out of power for their own safety. PG&E’s Wildfire Safety Operations Center in San Francisco. “This is unprecedented in terms of Meanwhile, Edison International’s Southern California Edison utility said it was weighing cutting

If PG&E can’t get a revised deal with the fire victims approved, it also will face the specter of navigating through two other legal gauntlets early next year that would be used as an alternative way to estimate how much the company owes for the catastrophic wildfires in 2017 and 2018 that killed nearly 130 people and destroyed about 28,000 structures in its sprawling service territory.

One, a California state trial to be held in January, will determine whether PG&E is liable for a 2017 fire in Sonoma County that the company hasn’t accepted full responsibility for. The trial would also award damages to the victims if PG&E is blamed. A subsequent proceeding, known as an estimation hearing, is scheduled in February before a federal judge to determine PG&E’s total bill for all the fires that could have been covered in the settlement that had been worked out with the victims.

Attorneys for the fire victims so far have collectively lodged claims of about $36 billion against PG&E, according to court documents. But that figure could rise even higher after the state trial and estimation hearing, and it if does would likely leave PG&E unable to meet its financial obligations — a development that could lead U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali to declare the company insolvent.

If that were to happen, it would automatically void a separate $11 billion settlement deal PG&E has reached with insurers who say they are owed $20 billion for the fire insurance claims they expect to pay their policyholders in the wildfires blamed on the utility. The insurance settlement, though, is also being opposed by Newsom, and is still awaiting Montali’s approval.

The governor “may have upset a rather delicate bankruptcy process,” said Jared Ellias, a bankruptcy expert at University of California, Hastings College of the Law.

“We’re going to see how resilient the deal that comes out of this process is going to be and whether it can adjust to meet his approval,” he said.

____

AP Business Writer Michael Liedtke contributed to this report.

PG&E creditors offer California wildfire victims $13.5 billion in cash upfront .
PG&E creditors offer California wildfire victims $13.5 billion in cash upfront , according to a letter sent on Friday to state governor Gavin Newsom.© Reuters/Terray Sylvester FILE PHOTO: Employees of Pacific Gas & Electric work in the aftermath of the Camp Fire in Paradise Current terms of the settlement deal, approved by a U.S. bankruptcy judge on Tuesday, call for half of the settlement to be financed with stock in a newly reorganized PG&E. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

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