[REGIONAL NEWS] California’s largest utility just declared bankruptcy. Hello, climate change.

Downed power lines run between the charred remains of a home destroyed by the Camp Fire in Paradise, California./Umair Irfan/Vox

PG&E faces billions of dollars in liability from wildfires exacerbated by rising temperatures and drought.

By Umair Irfan | Vox

PG&E, the largest utility in California, announced Monday that it will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection at the end of the month, providing a 15-day advance notice required by law.

What’s forcing the company into this unsavory position is upward of $30 billion in liability after record-breaking deadly wildfires in 2017 and 2018 torched big swaths of California. Investigators have attributed more than 1,500 fires to PG&E power lines and hardware between June 2014 and December 2017, according to the Wall Street Journal. And PG&E equipment is a major suspect in the Camp Fire, an October blaze that killed 85 people and destroyed almost 14,000 homes, making it the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in state history.

By Monday morning, the investor-owned utility had lost more than half of its stock value, with its market cap falling to $4.7 billion. The company employs 20,000 workers, serving 4.3 million natural gas customers and 5.4 million electricity customers (whose service will not be interrupted for now).

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