PG&E said it's preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for all of its businesses.
Morningstar's director of utilities research, Travis Miller: (SOUNDBITE) MORNINGSTAR, DIRECTOR OF UTILITIES RESEARCH, TRAVIS MILLER, SAYING: "It's not surprising, given that bankruptcy was one option on the table.
That said, this is an unusual circumstance ,and so on that we can't find much precedent.
The idea that a company, any company, the idea that a company that still has significant liquidity, and still have significant interest coverage, would decide to file bankruptcy is something that we haven't seen in the utilities industry or in recent memory." The biggest U.S. power utility faces as much as $30 billion in liabilities linked to catastrophic wildfires in 2017 and 2018.
PG&E also said its chief executive is leaving.
Its shares lost nearly half their value on Monday.
Reuters correspondent Liana Baker is covering the story: (SOUNDBITE) REUTERS CORRESPONDENT LIANA BAKER, SAYING: "This a really hard time for PG&E.
And we don't know what the future holds for them.
Sources tell me, they could be in bankruptcy for over two years, and they're not allowed right now to raise their rates to help pay for these liabilities, unless the state allows them to through legislation.
So, that's going to be very hard to happen, and the company is facing climate change in California.
It's just very dry, and they have power lines everywhere in Northern California and Central California.
And this is an issue that's just not going to go away." PG&E said the bankruptcy will not impact electric or natural gas services for its 16 million customers.
But, analysts said, it could hit PG&E's suppliers, such as Kinder Morgan, the second largest North American pipeline operator.