Holden Is ‘Disappointed’ By PG&E Bankruptcy Plan

Assemblyman Chris Holden, whose 41st Assembly District includes South Pasadena, sent a letter to PG&E’s CEO, William D. Johnson, this week, saying he was “disappointed” with the utility’s recently approved plan to exit bankruptcy.

A $13.5 billion settlement with fire victims was OK’d by a court this week in the wake of wildfires linked to PG&E’s equipment. The plan is aimed at putting a cap on damage claims, which sent the utility into bankruptcy in January.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has also said he thinks the plan falls short.

Newsom wants a revamped utility with a new board and increased focus on safety. Talks between the governor and the utility are expected to continue before the finished plan for the utility’s new set-up is OK’d, though a lawyer for the governor said Newsom did not intend to get in the way of the fire victims’ relief.

Holden, too, said he was unsatisfied with the reorganization plan.

“I am disappointed that the utility has failed to understand or accept the gravity of the issues before them as they seek to emerge from bankruptcy,’’ Holden’s letter said.

“Although I am pleased to finally see you making some progress on the fair treatment of victims, it appears to me that the utility does not take the terms of AB 1054 seriously. I want to echo the concerns expressed by Governor Newsom in his December 13th letter and call upon the utility to immediately revisit, strengthen, and reconcile the utility’s plan of reorganization to meet the requirements of AB 1054. The Legislature echoed those requirements when we adopted ACR 78.

“These measures clearly established, in state law, the expectations of the utility as it attempts to exit bankruptcy. They are not negotiable or subject to modification. Nor will we look the other way to facilitate a quick exit from bankruptcy for the utility at the expense of these mandates. The utility should not assume or expect a loose or cavalier approach to our analysis of your reorganization plan. But I infer from your plan that this is exactly what has occurred.

“The utility must address, revise, and improve board composition selection and qualification requirements, safety performance and metrics, and financing mechanisms to meet the terms of AB 1054 and ACR 78 should it intend to preserve its capital market structure. …’’

Holden also said he’s looking forward “to seeing a revised plan in the immediate future’’ and that he remains “available to work with the utility on this effort.’’