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PG&E to file for bankruptcy, faces up to 30-billion in fire liability costs 

A home burns during the Camp fire in Paradise, California on November 8, 2018. (Photo by Josh Edelson, Getty Images, Mercury News).

PG&E plans to file for bankruptcy protection by the end of the month as it faces more than $30 billion in potential liability costs related to its role in sparking deadly California wildfires, according to multiple reports.

California fire investigators determined that the company’s power lines sparked 18 wildfires in October of 2017 that burned close to 200,000 acres, destroyed 3,256 structures and killed 22 people. The state is also investigating whether a PG&E high-voltage transmission line started last year’s Camp Fire.

The potential liabilities from all the fires combined could exceed $30 billion, the company said in a securities filing Monday, more than it could handle. It said in the filing that it faced approximately 50 lawsuits related to the Camp Fire on behalf of 2,000 individual plaintiffs, and more than 700 lawsuits on behalf of at least 3,600 plaintiffs in connection with 2017 fires, five of which seek to be certified as class actions, according to the Wall Street Journal.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom reportedly said Monday that he was in contact with PG&E and urged the company to honor its contracts with wholesale power providers while under bankruptcy reorganization.

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