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PG&E shares are hammered as potential liabilities mount

January 7, 2019
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FILE - In this Nov. 10, 2018 file photo, with a downed power utility pole in the foreground, Eric England, right, searches through a friend's vehicle after the wildfire burned through Paradise, Calif. California’s largest utility company is getting battered in midday trading on a report that it’s considering bankruptcy protection in the face of potentially crippling liability damages from a spate of recent wildfires. No cause has been determined for the source of California’s “Camp Fire,” but PG&E reported an outage around the time and place the fire was ignited. Another transmission line also malfunctioned a short time later, possibly sparking a second fire. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — California’s largest power company was battered on Wall Street Monday following reports that it’s considering filing for bankruptcy protection in the face of potentially crippling liability damages from a spate of wildfires.

Officials are investigating whether PG&E’s equipment started the Camp wildfire in northern California that leveled the town of Paradise, killed at least 86 people and destroyed close to 15,000 homes.

Reuters, citing anonymous sources, reported that the company has considered seeking financial shelter in bankruptcy court with potential liabilities reaching into the tens of billions.

PG&E Corp. declined comment.

Shares of San Francisco-based PG&E lost $5.45, or 22.3 percent, to close Monday at $18.95, the latest severe sell-off for the company since November and the outbreak of the state’s deadliest recorded wildfires.

The company’s stock has lost 60 percent of its value in the past three months.

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