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California Lawmakers Should Take Action to Mitigate the Effects of the 2019 PG&E Bankruptcy

(2019)

In early 2019, the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), California’s largest utility, filed for bankruptcy in anticipation of being held liable for the 2018 Camp Fire, the most deadly wildfire in California history. While PG&E is an investor-owned utility (IOU), it serves 5.2 million households across the northern two-thirds of California and plays a critical role in the state’s energy generation, distribution and long-term goals. As the bankruptcy unfolds and California lawmakers decide how to weigh in on these proceedings, we highlight several key topics for consideration: renewable energy, energy access, and wildfire liability. Regardless of the outcome of PG&E’s bankruptcy, it is in California’s best interest for lawmakers to establish a robust wildfire fund, coordinate energy purchasing and distribution among new local energy providers, and scale up the development of local energy storage.