California Gov. Gavin Newsom is urging a federal judge to reject Pacific Gas and Electric’s blueprint for getting out of bankruptcy and renewing his threat to lead a bid to turn the beleaguered utility into a government-run operation.
In a court filing Wednesday, Newsom’s lawyers gave a sternly worded rebuke of PG&E’s plan, escalating the intrigue in a year-old bankruptcy case that will determine the fate of the nation’s largest utility. PG&E is trying to dig out of a financial hole created by more than $50 billion in claims stemming from a series of catastrophic wildfires that have been blamed on the San Francisco company.
Although he doesn’t have the power to block PG&E’s preferred route out of bankruptcy, the Democratic governor has tremendous leverage because the company’s plan hinges on its ability to draw upon a special insurance fund California created last summer to help insulate utilities from potential wildfire losses in the future.
PG&E did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Newsom fired his latest salvo on the eve of a scheduled hearing before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali that will cover a wide range of unresolved issues in the complex case.