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California utility faces financial meltdown over ‘wildfire’ blackouts

By Lawrence Gash

Pacific Gas and Electric share price plunges after it introduces rolling power outages across state

California’s largest utility company has suspended power supplies for more than one million customers, bringing political outrage and potential financial carnage down on its head.

Pacific Gas and Electric Co (PCG) made the decision to ensure that high winds do not blow down power lines, igniting wildfires across the state. Many times in the past two years such incidents have destroyed thousands of homes and caused a number of deaths. The fines and lawsuits resulting from previous fires made PG&E bankrupt in January.

The company’s share price stood at $10.98 at the close of trading yesterday and currently stands at $7.62 in pre-market trading, having fallen as low as $7.00.

Rolling blackouts and power outages are expected to hit more than 2 million people by the end of the week.

Candidates for the Democrat presidential nomination have all reacted to the news.

Senator Kamala Harris stated: “Let’s be clear: PG&E need to be held responsible for the maintenance of their power lines. This is simply unacceptable.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren went even further, demanding “a 100% clean and distributed energy system to build strong, climate-resilient communities”.

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