The largest Californian wildfire in history was likely the result of the bankrupt utility’s equipment.
Bankrupt Californian utility company, PG&E, said in its earnings statement that its equipment was the “probable” Camp Fire cause. That same statement reported the highest losses the company had ever recorded.
PG&E’s statement said that investigators will likely find its equipment was the fire’s ignition point.
As the Camp Fire cause, this would make PG&E’s equipment responsible for the largest wildfire in Californian history. The blaze ripped through Northern California for half of November 2018, leaving 85 people dead, and thousands homeless. Over 13,000 homes were destroyed, including essentially the entire town of Paradise.
PG&E filed for Chapter 11 in January 2019. After facing a $10.5 billion charge for its link to the Camp Fire, its filing from late last week estimated its losses to be a record $6.9 billion for the fourth quarter.
Investigators continue to look into the Camp Fire cause and have yet to officially point the finger at PG&E.
Investors have been watching PG&E’s movements to see whether the largest utility owner in California intended to accept additional wildfire-related charges. The company had already recorded a pre-tax loss of $2.5 billion in 2018’s second quarter.
Since the Camp Fire happened four months ago, PG&E’s market value has seen a freefall of $16 billion and is behind the filing of the largest utility bankruptcy in United States history.
“Management has concluded that these circumstances raise substantial doubt about PG&E corporation’s and the utility’s ability to continue as going concerns,” said the utility owner in its earnings report filing.
According to PG&E in its report filing from last Thursday, it had informed investigators that a transmission line located close to the ignition point had malfunctioned 18 minutes before the start of the wildfire.
It stated that investigators will find that this was the Camp Fire cause on November 8 when the blaze broke out. PG&E also stated that it would be taking another $1 billion charge for the 2017 Northern California wildfires, reported Bloomberg. Power lines were suspected as the cause of the wildfire within hours of the Camp Fire’s ignition.