PG&E reaches $13.5B settlement for wildfire victims
FOX Business’ Susan Li reports on courts approving PG&E’s settlement with wildfire victims, potentially paving the way for the company to exit bankruptcy.
SAN FRANCISCO — PG&E Corp. CEO Bill Johnson blamed negligence by the company's past management for a cascade of catastrophes that killed nearly 140 people as he tried to persuade California regulators Tuesday that he is steering the utility to make safety its top priority.
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Johnson, who was brought in to lead the company 10 months ago, delivered his remarks as the first witness in critical California Public Utilities Commission hearings that will help shape Pacific Gas & Electric as it tries to emerge from its second bankruptcy in less than 20 years.
JUDGE BLASTS PG&E AS 'FAR BEHIND' ON SAFETY PLAN
“The organization is safer today than it was a year ago. Things are getting better," Johnson said in sworn testimony while being grilled by a lawyer for a consumer rights group, The Utility Reform Network.
Later in his testimony, Johnson boiled down his mission to a simple goal: “No more disasters, no more catastrophes, no more fatalities.”
But both California Gov. Gavin Newsom and the head of the California Public Utilities Commission, PG&E's chief regulator, have expressed serious doubts about whether the company has turned over a new leaf.
Among other things, both Newsom and CPUC President Marybel Batjer have publicly demanded that PG&E replace its entire 14-member board, including Johnson, before it emerges from bankruptcy.
PG&E has promised to reshuffle its board, but hasn't made any commitment to part ways with Johnson, who previously ran another major utility, the Tennessee Valley Authority.