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California's recent power blackout episode triggered the strongest sales ever for BoxPower Inc., the maker of a turnkey solar power and battery unit in a box.
(Bloomberg) -- An unprecedented blackout that plunged millions of Californians into the darkness for days is over.And nobody can say when the next will hit.Even as PG&E Corp. declared an end to last week’s shutoffs -- a deliberate move to keep power lines from sparking the kind of blazes that forced the utility into bankruptcy -- the company warned that more will come. “It’s a future we must be ready for given the conditions and risks that we face,” Chief Executive Officer Bill Johnson said in a press conference with reporters.California still has six weeks left in its traditional wildfire season -- a time punctuated by dry, hot weather and high winds that have for years been the fuel for deadly and devastating blazes. While both PG&E and California state officials alike acknowledged that the shutoffs that began on Wednesday could have been better orchestrated (and with more communication), neither questioned their need.Climate change has made for more extreme conditions. In November 2018, a PG&E power line sparked the deadliest blaze in California history. And the year before that, a series of wildfires devastated the state’s wine country. That, state and company officials said, necessitates more extreme measures.By Friday, PG&E had restored power to 97% of those affected by the blackouts. On Sunday, 100% of customers had their lights back on. In all, roughly 738,000 homes and businesses went down in more than half of the state’s 58 counties. When they’ll go dark again is essentially Mother Nature’s call, Johnson said: “It really is weather-dependent -- where the wind is, where the conditions are.”Read More: Darkness, Frustration, Fire: Five Tumultuous Days in CaliforniaEven as the lights flickered back on, California firefighters were battling several infernos in Southern California. One that began in the hills north of the San Fernando Valley in the Los Angeles area -- now called the Saddleridge fire -- had burned about 8,000 acres as of Sunday and was less than 50% contained, destroying or damaging 32 structures. Another at the edge of the Sierra Nevada mountains had scorched more than 5,500 acres.“We are actively investigating the cause of the Saddleridge fire,” Nicholas Prange, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department, said by phone Sunday. “We haven’t determined anything yet. We take in any eyewitness reports and any evidence during the course of the investigation.”Sparks were seen at a transmission tower owned by Edison International’s Southern California Edison utility, local media reports cited eyewitnesses as saying. Prange said in response to queries on the eyewitness accounts that it would take at least a week for anything substantial to be determined.“Determining the cause and origin of the fire is a lengthy process,” Southern California Edison also said in a statement Sunday, confirming that it owns the tower identified in the reports as being near the start of the fire. “SCE will fully cooperate with investigations.”Southern California Edison also confirms that the transmission tower identified in local media reports as being near the start of the fire is theirs.In the course of inspecting lines following high winds, PG&E found 50 instances of weather-related damage to its system. “There’s some vindication -- that’s not the right word,” Johnson said late Friday, but the fact that the utility discovered so many safety issues that could have ignited a wildfire made the blackout well worth it, he said.One thing PG&E is promising going forward is better communication. For days, both ahead of the blackout and during it, the company’s website was down, overwhelmed by people trying to find out whether they would be cut off and for how long. Call centers were similarly flooded. Text messages to homes and businesses affected were few and far between.Read More: Dark Shops, Spotty Phones, Rotting Fish: Life in a Mass BlackoutThe operational act of turning off and on power actually “went really well,” Johnson said. But he committed to better notifications, more phone alerts, shorter call wait times and a website “that works no matter how much traffic is on it.”California officials will have their own say on what more should be done. Governor Gavin Newsom has blasted PG&E over the shutoffs, saying the company should have been more surgical -- and never would’ve been in this situation if it had invested in its infrastructure more heavily. He also called on state utility regulators to review PG&E’s actions.A spokeswoman for the California Public Utilities Commission said the agency, as a policy, reviewed all intentional outages by California utilities. PG&E said it will file a report with the agency detailing the damages it discovered.(Updates with latest data in seventh paragraph, LA fire department comment in eight and ninth paragraphs.)To contact the reporters on this story: Lynn Doan in San Francisco at email@example.com;Mark Chediak in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.org;Hailey Waller in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lynn Doan at firstname.lastname@example.org, Kevin MillerFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- However frothy valuations currently seem to be, optimists can always argue they’re justified by strong earnings. In the past four years, S&P 500 operating earnings per share have grown by nearly 40%.Those numbers, however, may be as airy as the asset prices they support. The U.S. government’s national income and product accounts -- which cover a broader number of businesses than the S&P, use tax returns and adjust for certain accounting practices -- suggest that corporate profits actually peaked in 2014 and have been stagnant since. The national accounts also show significant downward revisions to corporate profit margins over the previous five years. While one would expect some discrepancies between that data and S&P numbers, which are based on Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), the gulf is too wide to be ignored.What’s going on? In many cases, accounting choices appear to be distorting results. In early 2019, General Electric Co. reported GAAP losses of $2.43 per share; under adjusted figures it earned $0.65 per share. Tesla Inc. reported full-year GAAP losses of $5.72 per share but “non-GAAP” losses were only $1.33 per share. Over 95% of S&P 500 companies regularly use at least one non-GAAP measure, up about 50% over the last 20 years.One question is how companies choose to recognize income. In the case of long-term, multi-year contracts, such as construction projects, reported revenue can be based on a formula: a portion of the total contract amount, calculated as costs incurred in the relevant period as a percentage of total forecast costs. Understating estimated final costs allows margins to be increased and greater revenue to be recognized up front. Following the collapse of Carillion PLC, the firm was found to be aggressive in recording income which was sensitive to small changes in assumptions. Given the trend to converting sales of products (such as software) into long-term service contracts, these risks are only going to grow. Companies can understate expenses. Many tech companies use non-GAAP accounting to strip out the cost of employee stock options, for instance, thereby showing higher earnings. WeWork sought to redefine traditional earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization as something called “community-based EBITDA.” The new measure conveniently excluded normal operating expenses such as marketing, general and administrative expenses, development and design costs.Spending may be treated as an asset, to be written off in the future rather than when expended. A recent JPMorgan Chase and Co. research report found software intangible assets (the amount spent but not yet expensed) averaged up to 15% of adjusted costs for a sample of European banks. The idea is to better match expenses to the period over which they are expected to benefit the business. But the practice may overstate current earnings.Related-party transactions can distort a company’s true financial position. Saudi Arabia slashed the tax rate on large oil companies to 50% from 85%, even though the government depends on the profits of Saudi Arabian Oil Co. for 80% of its revenues. Aramco will still pay most of its profits to the state, but as dividends rather than tax. That means reported profits will be higher, potentially increasing the company’s valuation ahead of a highly anticipated initial public offering. Complex structures can mask liabilities. Tesla, for instance, faces potential payments related to its SolarCity business. Before being bought by Tesla in 2016, SolarCity regularly sold future cash flows to outside investors in exchange for upfront cash. Tesla assumed these obligations and has continued the practice. The obligations now reportedly total over $1.3 billion.To reduce unfunded pension liabilities, some companies have borrowed at low available interest rates to inject money into the funds. That’s fine as long as fund returns -- generally assumed to be around 6% to 8% -- are higher than the cost of borrowing. If returns come in lower, however, the companies in question will have to raise their contributions, affecting future earnings.New business models often disregard potential costs. If Lyft Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. drivers are reclassified as employees as proposed in California, then hidden employment costs would need to be recognized, perhaps retrospectively. Newly listed fitness company Peloton Interactive Inc. faces a $300 million lawsuit from music publishers who claim the company used their songs in workouts without paying licensing fees.Finally, stated asset values can be misleading. Goodwill, the difference between acquisition price and the fair value of actual assets acquired, now averages above 50% of acquisition price. Goodwill values are notoriously uncertain. In 2018, GE unexpectedly wrote off $23.2 billion of goodwill arising from its acquisition of Alstom SA.The problem is compounded by private markets, where funding rounds can establish questionable valuations. Recent investments into WeWork valued the company at over $40 billion, more than three times the projected pricing of its abandoned IPO. A recent proposal to get Saudi businesses to make anchor investments in Aramco ahead of its IPO could also inflate its valuation.“Fake” financials, as some would call them, undermine markets. With a correction looking increasingly likely, investors need to start working with regulators and standard setters now to close accounting loopholes, while scrutinizing underlying data more closely. Otherwise, the more creatively companies are allowed to manage their financial position for short-term gain, the bigger the bill is going to be.(Corrects definition of goodwill in twelfth paragraph.)To contact the author of this story: Satyajit Das at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Nisid Hajari at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Satyajit Das is a former banker and the author, most recently, of "A Banquet of Consequences."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Electricity drives many legal grow operations and could irrevocably damage marijuana plants during harvest season. Following massive, deadly wildfires a year ago, while also dealing with bankruptcy negotiations, California utility company Pacific Gas & Electric decided to shut off power this week to avoid any more potential damage. Five out of the 10 most destructive wildfires in California history have been connected with PG&E’s electrical network, according to the New York Times.
“The NFL has really been obsessed with the integrity of the sport," the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars said.
(Bloomberg) -- Californians have always lived in the shadow of calamity -- from earthquakes, mudslides, flooding, fires and droughts.But the move this week from the state’s largest power company represented a new type of burden: a widespread, intentional hardship designed to prevent something much worse.Facing a powerful windstorm, PG&E Corp. cut off power to wide swaths of California rather than risk its lines sparking a deadly wildfire like the ones that ravaged the state over the past two years and sent the company into bankruptcy. The outage hit 34 of the state’s 58 counties -- including the heavily populated San Francisco Bay area -- and led to backlash, frustration and confusion.Two of California’s smaller utilities to the south, Edison International’s Southern California Edison and Sempra Energy’s San Diego Gas & Electric, made a similar -- albeit more measured -- calculation. Over the course of three days, roughly 2.3 million people would lose electricity in the world’s fifth-largest economy.Here’s how the largest deliberate power outage in California’s history unfolded. (All times local.)Monday, 10:15 a.m.PG&E issues its first news release warning of a “fire weather watch” that may lead to power shutdowns in 29 counties, without saying how many customers may be affected. Until this time, the utility has largely deployed shutoffs in slices of the Napa Valley and along the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, where it had just cut electricity over the weekend to about 10,000 customers due to windy conditions.Monday, 9:02 p.m.The size and scope of PG&E’s plans start to come into focus. The company says it may need to turn off the lights to more than 600,000 homes and businesses starting early Wednesday. The announcement includes dozens of cities in the San Francisco Bay area, such as Oakland, San Jose and Berkeley.“This is shaping up to be one of the most severe dry wind events we’ve seen in our territory in recent years,” Michael Lewis, senior vice president of electric operations, says in a statement.Tuesday, 10 a.m.As the news of potential outages spreads, Californians mobilize for what could be the largest planned blackout of its kind in history. State and local authorities ready their emergency operations centers. Residents rush out to snap up generators, flashlights, batteries, ice and bottled water, leaving hardware and grocery store shelves empty. Stanford professor Michael Wara calculates that a two-day outage could have an economic impact of about $2.6 billion.Tuesday, 1:36 p.m.PG&E confirms that it will shut off power for almost 800,000 customers in stages, starting just after midnight. Four new counties are added to its list, bringing the total to 34. It tells customers to prepare for an “extended outage.”The utility’s website is flooded with traffic and crashes, leaving residents frustrated and confused. Customers report having trouble reaching the utility’s call center.Tuesday, 3 p.m.Governor Gavin Newsom calls PG&E’s actions warranted while acknowledging the massive disruption the blackout represented.“No one is happy about it, no one is satisfied, but no one should be surprised, because we have been anticipating this moment for a year,” Newsom says at a bill-signing event in Oakland. The blackout “shows that PG&E finally woke up to their responsibility to keep people safe,” he says.State Senator Jerry Hill, a frequent PG&E critic, says the company went too far. “They need to spend the billions they’ve already received to harden the system,” he says at the event. “I think they’re in crisis and will do anything to prevent another wildfire.”Anger spreads among other politicians. State Senator Scott Wiener calls it a “completely unacceptable state of affairs.”Tuesday, 7 p.m.At the utility’s first press conference since the shutoff warning, PG&E representatives apologize for the problems with the company’s website and say they are working to address the issue. The company also says it is rushing to get generators to the California Department of Transportation so it can keep open a critical freeway tunnel that connects parts of the East Bay.Wednesday, 12:01 a.m.The first phase of the shutoff starts, affecting about 500,000 customers in more than 20 counties.Wednesday, 7 a.m.More than a million Californians wake up without power, including many in wine country. The website with outage information remains down. PG&E says the shutoffs will spread by noon to cities surrounding San Francisco, then later delays the second phase after wind patterns change.Wednesday, 2 p.m.Stores are shut in the counties hit by early outages. Safeway supermarkets bring in back-up generators and refrigerated trailers upon availability.At Sonoma County’s Russian River Brewing Company -- famed for its Pliny the Younger cult beer -- a 2-megawatt generator keeps the business running. The generator is too big, burning $8,000 to $10,000 of diesel per day. But nearby wineries had already snapped up all the smaller ones, says Russian River co-owner Natalie Cilurzo.In many areas without power, wind speeds have yet to pick up, leading to criticism the outage was unnecessary.“It’s a beautiful day here,” Cilurzo says. “We’re all kind of scratching our heads.”Napa Democrat Bill Dodd expresses a similar concern, saying “many of my constituents are disturbed that the power was shut down before the winds started to pick up.”Wednesday, 2:35 p.m.In the midst of the power tumult, PG&E is dealt a blow in its bankruptcy case. The judge overseeing the process issues a ruling that strips PG&E of its exclusive control over its reorganization, allowing bondholders and wildfire victims to offer a competing plan that all but wipes out current shareholders.Wednesday, 10:45 p.m.The blackout spreads to more densely populated parts of the Bay Area, including Oakland. With WiFi down, people flood LTE networks on their cell phones, crippling the systems and virtually killing access to cellular data for all within shutoff zones.Thursday, 2:30 a.m.Just hours after PG&E shuts off power to Moraga, an affluent rural town about 20 miles east of San Francisco, residents awake to police warning them to seek shelter at a local church. Despite the dead electrical lines, a wildfire has broken out.Roughly 140 homes are evacuated, and inoperable traffic lights create delays of an hour or more as cars clog the single-lane road leading out of town. The fire eventually is contained with no damage to houses.Thursday, 6 a.m.PG&E says it has restored power to 126,000 customers, easing fears that the blackout could drag on for days.As Wall Street trading opens, PG&E shares plunge more than 30% on concern that the bankruptcy judge’s ruling could lead to a total wipeout for shareholders. Analysts warn the stock could fall to zero.Meanwhile, Bay Area residents awaken to darkness and adjust to disrupted routines. In Oakland, a doughnut shop serves doughnuts but no coffee. Credit card machines are down, so patrons pay with cash only.At a clearly powerless sushi restaurant, a man begins unloading a box of fresh tuna to deliver. “They ordered it,” he shrugs.Thursday, 10 a.m.The normally bustling University of California, Berkeley, is nearly devoid of students, with classes canceled due to the blackout. Just north of campus, a strip of shops and restaurants still has power, but closes anyway.“There is no business,” says Ray Woo, owner of the TC Garden restaurant next to the university. “Nobody is coming. There aren’t any students.”Thursday, 11:55 a.m.A small wildfire is spotted beneath a PG&E transmission line on a steep ridge just south of San Francisco. It is quickly contained, and firefighters don’t announce a cause.Thursday, 5 p.m.Newsom blasts PG&E’s handling of the shutoff. He blames the outage on the utility’s “greed and mismanagement” and calls for a “major reorganization” of the company. But while the governor says future planned blackouts must be more surgical, he defends the practice itself, saying it could have saved lives during last year’s deadly Camp Fire if PG&E had chosen to do it then.Thursday, 6 p.m.In his first public statements since the outage began, PG&E Chief Executive Officer Bill Johnson apologizes for the way the company handled its communication of the shutoffs.“This isn’t how we want to serve you,” he says. “We are in the business of providing power. Not taking it away.”Johnson says the company made a determination that the blackouts were necessary for safety reasons, to ensure “zero risk” of sparks.Thursday, 9:40 p.m.A brush fire pops up on the northern edge of Los Angeles, and fanned by strong winds, starts marching westward. The Saddleridge fire soon closes a portion of the Interstate 5 freeway into the city and nears the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility, site in 2015 of the largest gas leak in U.S. history.Lights are starting to come back on in the Bay Area. Around 11 p.m., PG&E says it has restored power to more than half of the 738,000 customers who lost it, including all in the northernmost counties the company serves.Friday 1 p.m.The Saddleridge swells to 7,542 acres, forcing the evacuation of 23,000 homes. At least 25 structures have burned, and one civilian suffered a heart attack, dying at the hospital. Fire officials say they’re investigating reports of sparks flying from a transformer at the start of the blaze.Friday 6 p.m.PG&E says only 84,000 customers remain without power. It aims to have service restored to almost all homes and businesses by early Saturday.The outages may not have been in vain: The utility said it found 30 instances where tree branches had fallen on its power lines or knocked them down.“There’s some vindication -- that’s not the right word -- the fact that there were 30 plus things that could’ve caused a fire and didn’t,” made the blackout worth it, Johnson says.Saturday, 2 p.m.PG&E says it’s restored power to 99.5% its customers affected as of 1 p.m.About 735,000 customers in California had power restored within 48 hours after getting the all clear earlier in the week, Sumeet Singh, vice president of the community wildfire safety program at the utility, said in a press conference on its social media platforms. About 2,500 are still without power in the state, he added.The utility also said it found 50 cases of damage or hazard, up from 30 the day before.\--With assistance from Lizette Chapman, Lynn Doan, Jeffrey Taylor and Hailey Waller.To contact the reporters on this story: David R. Baker in San Francisco at email@example.com;Mark Chediak in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lynn Doan at email@example.com, Kara WetzelFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
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GE has frozen its pension for 20,000 workers and is offering buyouts to others. It marks another step in the death of the pension.
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(Bloomberg) -- Several wildfires are raging in Southern California, including a blaze at the edge of Los Angeles that’s led to the evacuation of 25,000 homes and a sprawling natural gas-storage site that once sprung the biggest U.S. gas leak.The Aliso Canyon gas field operated by Sempra Energy’s Southern California Gas Co. was evacuated after the blaze, named the Saddleridge fire, broke out Thursday in hills north of the San Fernando Valley, the company said in a statement. About 100,000 people were displaced, police said.The fire has burned more than 7,500 acres and is about 13% contained, authorities said. A cause hasn’t been determined. It comes after California utilities cut power to more than 2 million people to avoid having live wires topple during windstorms and spark wildfires in the state’s largest-ever preemptive blackout. Power has been restored to 97% of PG&E Corp.’s affected customers.East of Los Angeles, another fire -- named Sandalwood -- in Riverside County has burned 823 acres. Further west, the Wendy blaze in Ventura County has burned 91 acres, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.For more, listen to this mini-podcast on California’s wildfire blackouts.Edison International’s Southern California Edison utility had begun to restore power to customers it had cut power, but about 14,000 homes and businesses remained in the dark as of late Friday. The company warned 110,000 were still at risk of losing service. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the Saddleridge fire broke out in Edison’s territory or that of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Both operate in the area. The Los Angeles Fire Department said it was investigating reports of sparks flying from a transformer at the time of the blaze, which began along the 210 Freeway near Yarnell Street in Sylmar.READ MORE: Governor Slams PG&E as Epic Blackout EbbsAs they battle the blaze, crews have staged firefighting equipment around the Aliso Canyon storage site, according to SoCalGas. The facility does not appear to have suffered damage, and there are no indications of leaks, the utility said in a statement at 10 a.m. local time Friday. The company said it doesn’t anticipate that any of the field’s wellheads will be damaged.The blaze also prompted authorities to partially close several freeways including parts of Interstate 5, the West Coast’s main north-south artery.In 2015, employees discovered a massive gas leak at Aliso Canyon, forcing thousands of residents to evacuate for months. Sempra has already reported more than $1 billion in costs associated with the incident.(Updates with PG&E restoration in third paragraph)\--With assistance from Christopher Palmeri, Naureen S. Malik, Nathan Crooks, Hailey Waller and Nic Querolo.To contact the reporter on this story: David R. Baker in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lynn Doan at email@example.com, Pratish NarayananFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
PG&E; ended a rough week with reports that it had rejected San Francisco's offer to buy the utility's wires in the city for $2.5 billion.
"Today's ratings affirmation follows Pattern's announcement that it will issue $260 million of perpetual preferred stock to partly fund the acquisition of ownership-interests in two Canadian wind farms, 50% in the Henvey Inlet (Ontario) and 51% in the Grady (New Mexico) projects for a total purchase price of nearly $368 million using USD to CAD exchange rate of $1.30. This total price includes Pattern's purchase of a C$97 million loan that is repayable by the Nigig Power Corporation. "Pattern's planned use of available excess cash to fund the rest of the price considerations drives our expectation that the company's consolidated debt to EBITDA run-rate will remain around 8x based on P(90) wind resource projections and applying proportional consolidation, including Pattern's 29% interest in Pattern Development", added Martel.
It's part of California's new normal - year-round fire seasons, planned electricity blackouts and, for retired couple Bhagvei and Paresh Badreshia, sudden evacuations in the middle of the night. The evacuations in Southern California came after the state's largest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) , switched off the power to nearly 800,000 homes and businesses in northern and central California to prevent its transmission lines from sparking wildfires under gusting dry winds. It was the second time in less than four years the Badreshias have been forced by an emergency to flee their home in Porter Ranch, a plush suburb where some scenes for the 1982 movie "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" were filmed.
PG&E Corp rejected a $2.5 billion offer from San Francisco to buy the bankrupt Californian company's power lines and other infrastructure within the city, calling the offer inadequate. The offer significantly undervalued the assets and a deal would not be in the best interest of the company's customers, PG&E's chief executive officer, Bill Johnson, wrote in a letter to San Francisco Mayor London Breed and City Attorney Dennis Herrera. The company's financing strategy to emerge from bankruptcy did not include selling off company assets, Johnson said in the letter, which was dated Oct. 7.
(Bloomberg) -- PG&E Corp. rejected a $2.5 billion offer from San Francisco to buy the bankrupt utility giant’s wires within the city’s limits.San Francisco’s offer significantly undervalues the company’s assets and a deal wouldn’t be in the best interests of its customers, PG&E Chief Executive Officer Bill Johnson said in an Oct. 7 letter to Mayor London Breed. He went on to say the company doesn’t need to sell its businesses to finance a restructuring and emerge from bankruptcy.“We cannot accept your offer,” Johnson said in the letter. “If we ever do consider such sales, we have a duty to obtain the highest and best value for these assets.”San Francisco has framed its takeover bid as a way for PG&E to raise money and help cover an estimated $30 billion in liabilities tied to devastating wildfires that its equipment ignited in 2017 and 2018. The damages from those blazes are what forced the company in January to enter the biggest utility bankruptcy in U.S. history. Now, the company has found itself competing with the likes of Pacific Investment Management Co. and activist investor Elliott Management Corp. over a restructuring plan.PG&E has proposed a reorganization that would allow existing shareholders to preserve some of their stake in the company. The plan creditors led by Pimco and Elliott are pushing would all but wipe out current investors. The company’s shares were virtually unchanged in after-markets trading.Not SurprisedSan Francisco officials said they weren’t deterred by the brush-off from PG&E.“We aren’t surprised by PG&E’s response so far,” the mayor and City Attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement. “We’re also not giving up. Now more than ever, it is clear that we must take back control of San Francisco’s electric service and achieve energy independence.”State Senator Scott Wiener, a San Francisco Democrat who has backed a deal, said the rejection wasn’t surprising but that supporters will continue to press for one in bankruptcy court. “We’re not going to give up,” he said by telephone. “Bankruptcy is an unpredictable process and we’ll see what happens.”Wiener said he was also looking at what could be done to move a deal forward on the state level. He declined to provide details.‘Not So Welcome’While California’s investor-owned utilities have traditionally held a lot of sway in Sacramento, PG&E is “not so welcome and powerful anymore,” Wiener said.This week, the utility orchestrated the biggest preemptive blackout in state history to keep its power lines from starting wildfires amid high winds. The shutoffs drew outrage from homeowners and businesses, leading Governor Gavin Newsom to publicly blast PG&E for years of “greed and mismanagement.”“PG&E’s performance in general, and in particular with this massive blackout, has shifted the politics,” Wiener said. “More and more people understand that it’s not up to the task.”(Updates with city’s comment in seventh paragraph.)To contact the reporters on this story: Mark Chediak in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.org;Romy Varghese in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lynn Doan at firstname.lastname@example.org, ;Elizabeth Campbell at email@example.com, Michael HythaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Sempra has been seeking to bolster its finances and increase its appeal to investors after a wave of wildfires in California exposed it and other utilities to more legal liabilities. Sempra's deal with State Grid Corporation of China could be announced as early as next week, the sources said, cautioning it was still possible that negotiations may falter at the last minute and asking not to be identified because the matter is confidential. Sempra declined to comment, while State Grid Corporation of China did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Shepard Smith, the chief news anchor of Fox News and a sometime critic of U.S. President Donald Trump, abruptly quit the network on Friday after 23 years. In an unexpected on-air statement at the end of his daily "Shepard Smith Reporting" show, Smith said he had asked to leave the conservative-leaning cable news network, which is the most-watched in the United States. "Recently I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News.
Shepard Smith, whose newscast on Fox News Channel seemed increasingly an outlier on a network dominated by supporters of President Trump, abruptly quit after working at Fox since it started in 1996. Smith said at the end of his daily newscast on Friday that he had asked the network to let him out of his contract and it had agreed. Neil Cavuto, who anchors the broadcast following Smith’s, looked shocked after the announcement.
Wildfire risks have led the embattled California utility PG&E to order a preemptive electric grid shutdown, leaving more than 2 million at risk of losing power.
Shepard Smith, chief news anchor and breaking new managing editor at fox, will leave the network, Fox News Media said on Friday. "Recently I asked the company to allow me to leave Fox News. Under our agreement, I won't be reporting elsewhere, at least in the near future," Smith said on his Friday show.
General Electric is pulling the plug on its pension plan, and that’s a surefire way to derail workers’ retirement planning. GE (GE) announced on Monday it was freezing pensions for 20,000 employees with salaried benefits in an attempt to reduce its $8 billion pension deficit, and that it would also freeze supplementary pension benefits for about 700 workers. Current retirees already receiving their pension payments will not be affected and no new hires have been enrolled in the pension plan since 2012.