On January 14, PG&E gave notice as required by the wildfire bill from last summer that it intends to file for bankruptcy protection in 15 days.
What is the notice? As part of the wildfire legislation that passed in California last summer (SB 901), we included language protecting workers. One of those protections is the requirement that a utility give 15 days’ notice before filing for bankruptcy protection.
Does this mean that PG&E has to file for bankruptcy? No, but it can’t file for bankruptcy without doing this first. There are still 15 days to come up with a business plan that doesn’t involve bankruptcy. It is possible, but not likely, that bankruptcy can be avoided.
Why is PG&E under such strong financial pressure? The claims from the 2017 and 2018 wildfires are the single largest cause for the financial problems. All of the claims result from claims filed under California’s inverse condemnation law, which means that the victims do not need to prove that PG&E negligence, they only have to prove that PG&E equipment started the fire.
What does bankruptcy mean for IBEW Local 1245 members? Our goal is to protect you completely, keeping your wages, benefits, and working conditions unaffected by the filing. We were successful in doing this in the 2001 bankruptcy, and we are prepared to do so again.
What about the pension? We know that this is a major concern. We protected the pension in 2001 and will again this time. We have retained bankruptcy counsel a year ago and will do all we can to keep the pension completely protected and out of the bankruptcy proceeding.
Will the company sell the gas business? We don’t know. It would be a complex and lengthy procedure which we would oppose. The best way to protect our gas members (including clerical, fleet, materials, and IT members) is to keep gas in PG&E. That will be our goal if PG&E finds a buyer who is interested.
We will continue to provide updates to our members as more details and developments arise. We welcome you to check our website often and follow us on Facebook for up-to-date news and information.