PG&E shares plunge after $1.6 billion quarterly loss amid wildfire costs

PG&E loses $1.62 billion in third quarter, company lists $2.55 billion in wildfire-linked claims

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PG&E shares plummetted on Thursday after the company reported $1.62 billion in losses during the third quarter that were unleashed in part by $2.55 billion in claims linked to wildfires.

Excluding an array of one-time items such as the wildfire claims, PG&E reported an adjusted profit of $590 million, which was up 1.4 percent from $582 million in adjusted profits during the similar July-through-September quarter of a year ago, PG&E reported Thursday.

“Estimated third-party claims related to the 2017 Northern California wildfires and the 2018 Camp fire” were part of the one-time items included in the most recent financial results, PG&E stated.

The 2017 fires involved blazes that torched the North Bay Wine Country and nearby regions and the 2018 fire was an inferno that roared through Butte County and essentially destroyed the town of Paradise.

These wildfire-related claims posted during the third quarter were the settlements with insurance companies that PG&E had previously announced.

They don’t include any settlements with people who have pursued compensation directly from PG&E in connection with a number of the lethal infernos in Northern Califonia caused by PG&E during 2017 and 2018.

The third-quarter report arrived amid PG&E’s ongoing Chapter 11 bankruptcy case in federal court.

In January, PG&E filed for a $51.69 billion bankruptcy, seeking to reorganize its shattered finances, which buckled beneath a rising mountain of liabilities and wildfire-linked claims.

“We continue to make progress in our efforts to move expeditiously through the Chapter 11 process, and remain focused on a fair and prompt resolution of wildfire victims’ claims,” PG&E Chief Executive Officer William Johnson said in a prepared release.

PG&E’s stock nose-dived 12 percent during midday trades.

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