Shares of besieged California utility PG&E Corp. rallied Tuesday despite a bitter disagreement between the company and some of its shareholders over its decision to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
The nation's largest U.S. power provider filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday and asked the court to approve a $5.5 billion debtor-in-possession financing, it said in a statement. The company also filed various motions with the Court, including requests for permission to continue paying employees and providing them healthcare and other benefits.
On its website, PG&E said it would continue to provide electric and natural gas service as normal. The San Francisco utility has 16 million customers in Northern and Central California. "To be clear, we have heard the calls for change and we are determined to take action throughout this process to build the energy system our customers want and deserve," said John R. Simon, PG&E's interim CEO, in a statement.
Shares of PG&E rose 17 percent Tuesday. Some traders speculated that those with bets against the shares were closing out their trades and forcing up the stock price. The stock is down more than 65 percent over the past six months.
PG&E's bankruptcy filing comes nearly three months after the start of the so-called Camp Fire, which broke out on the morning of Nov. 8 near the town of Paradise in northern California. The fast-moving wildfire killed at least 86 people and destroyed about 14,000 homes, making it the state's deadliest.
Though responsibility for that fire has yet to be determined, state investigators cleared the utility company of liability in the October 2017 Tubbs Fire on Thursday, the largest such fire of that year. While a small victory for the company, that finding comes after state investigators determined that PG&E's equipment was liable in at least 17 major wildfires in 2017.
PG&E listed assets of $71.39 billion and liabilities of $51.69 billion, in a court document filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California.