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California Energy Markets / This Week
[CEM 1547 / July 12, 2019]
Under Pressure, State Adopts New Law for Utility-Caused Wildfires
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature on July 12 to new wildfire legislation brings California into a new era in the way it treats utility liability, but not all are happy with the structure of the plan. Critics charge that a new wildfire fund, to be jointly sourced from electric ratepayers and utility shareholders, is a utility bailout, and note that that inverse condemnation remains unaddressed.
PG&E to Purchase $50-Million Insurance Policy for Company Directors, Officers
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali on July 7 allowed Pacific Gas & Electric to set aside $50 million as liability insurance for CEO Bill Johnson, company executives and its new crop of board directors, despite expressing mixed feelings about the proposal. The insurance would cover claims that could be filed against the individuals in connection with their positions at PG&E.
Customers Confront Johnson at PG&E GRC Hearing
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Pacific Gas & Electric President and CEO Bill Johnson faced a volley of complaints and accusations from the utility’s customers at a July 9 public hearing, including criticism of high rates and failure to prevent wildfires. The hearing provided ratepayers with a chance to weigh in on the utility’s 2020 general rate case application, which requests a $1.1-billion increase in PG&E’s base revenue requirement in 2020.
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