Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E)

PG&E names new CEO and overhauls board

Bill Johnson. Photo: PG&E

Bill Johnson, the outgoing CEO of government-owned utility Tennessee Valley Authority, will step in as the new CEO of PG&E, the company said on Wednesday. The California utility will also appoint 10 new board members, while 7 others will step down.

Why it matters: PG&E filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, anticipating hefty liability costs for its potential role in the deadly 2018 Camp Fire. The company's troubles have caught the attention of activist hedge fund BlueMountain Capital, which proposed its own slate of board members, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who slammed an earlier proposal of new board members as primed with "hedge fund financiers, out-of-state executives and others with little or no experience in California and inadequate expertise in utility operations, regulation and safety."

Expert Voices

Green New Deal could support needed upgrades to energy infrastructure

A down transformer is photographed in Paradise, Calif., on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018.
A downed transformer in Paradise, Calif., on Nov. 10, 2018. Photo: Randy Vazquez/Digital First Media/The Mercury News via Getty Images

The sweeping ambition of the Green New Deal (GND) has raised questions about how it will be paid for. But it’s important to consider how its potential outlays might intersect with investments that will need to be made anyway to replace aging U.S. energy infrastructure.

The big picture: The U.S. already needs to increase its infrastructure investment by more than $3.8 trillion by 2040 in clean water, energy and electricity, transportation networks and telecommunications. The GND could offer a way for policymakers to direct the infrastructure repair and upgrading that already needs to be done in service of fighting climate change.