Mar 20, 2020 - Economy & Business

PG&E reaches bankruptcy deal with California

The Pacific Gas & Electric logo on a truck in Jan. 2019 in San Francisco, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) on Friday struck a deal, pledging to help wildfire victims and improve safety in order to emerge from bankruptcy, the New York Times reports.

Catch up quick: PG&E filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last January, facing an estimated $30 billion in claims over its potential role in deadly wildfires across the state, and in December agreed to a $13.5 billion settlement with California wildfire victims.

  • PG&E will not pay dividends to shareholders under the deal for three years, saving roughly $4 billion, according to calculations by the California governor’s office cited by the Times.
  • PG&E should be able to exit bankruptcy by June 30 under this deal.

What they're saying:

“Through California’s unprecedented intervention in the bankruptcy, we secured a totally transformed board and leadership structure for the company, real accountability tools to ensure safety and reliability and billions more in contributions from shareholders to ensure safety upgrades are achieved.”
— California Gov. Gavin Newsom

What's next, per the NYT: "A federal judge still needs to approve the company’s bankruptcy plan, but the agreement with Governor Newsom makes the approval much more likely."

Go deeper: PG&E bankruptcy judge sides with fire victims in liability challenge

Go deeper

California issues a power mandate for our times

Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

California regulators are requiring power companies to ensure their outreach around wildfires is offered in the languages spoken in their service areas.

Why it matters: The new California Public Utilities Commission rule is the convergence of two big dynamics: wildfire threats that are worsened in part from climate change, and the growing diversity of the nation's most populous state.

Gavin Newsom: Hospitals are asking L.A. seamstresses to make masks

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference at the California Department of Public Health in Sacramento, California, in February. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a Facebook live address Wednesday evening hospitals fighting the novel coronavirus are "asking seamstresses in the Los Angeles garment district" to make masks.

Why it matters: Newsom's comments underscore concerns raised by experts and lawmakers that medical shortages could cripple the U.S. response to the virus.

Go deeperArrowMar 19, 2020 - Health

Whiting Petroleum files for bankruptcy as coronavirus takes a bite out of the economy

A drill of Whiting Petroleum. Photo: AFP / Stringer/Getty Images

The oil-and-gas producer Whiting Petroleum said Wednesday that it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing the "severe downturn" in prices stemming from the Saudi-Russia price war and the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The Wall Street Journal notes that Whiting, a substantial producer in North Dakota's prolific shale regions, is the "first sizable fracking company to succumb to the crash in oil prices."