The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

PG&E Bankruptcy:
A Boon for Profiteers

Mar 2, 2020

PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric), the largest utility company in California, went into bankruptcy in January 2019, so that it would not have to pay for deadly wildfires that PG&E equipment caused. So this bankruptcy is worth millions of dollars for the big shareholders of PG&E—but not only for them.

Fees for lawyers and consultants hired as part of the “restructuring” process of this huge company have already amounted to more than $200 million ... and counting. To pay for such “reconstruction costs,” PG&E took out loans. They have paid $114 million in interest to big Wall Street banks like JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs in 2019 alone. Some analysts estimate that, by the end of this restructuring, these banks may wind up pocketing more than a billion dollars!

And then there are certain hedge funds that stand to make hundreds of millions of dollars off PG&E. These vultures have all their bases covered: they own PG&E stock, while they are also betting on PG&E being found liable for the loss of homes—and lives—in the wildfires. They have bought up wildfire insurance claims at a discount and are speculating to secure a windfall when PG&E pays off at a higher rate.

The California state government has already allowed PG&E to raise rates to pay for expenses arising from the company’s liability in the fires. So, in the end, it’s ratepayers that will foot the bill for the billions of dollars that are going to various Wall Street profiteers.