PG&E Corp. is close to finalizing terms for a $13.5 billion payout to victims of wildfires ignited by its power lines, a key step toward resolving the biggest utility bankruptcy in U.S. history, according to people familiar with the matter.
The California-based power giant would pay half in cash and the rest in stock in the newly reorganized utility, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. The cash portion would be paid with a lump sum upfront, and the remainder would be paid over 18 months.
A deal now would be a victory for PG&E, which has spent months trying to negotiate a viable restructuring plan to emerge from bankruptcy by the middle of next year. The utility has already agreed to pay $11 billion to insurers and other wildfire claim holders. The company also has a deal to pay $1 billion to local government agencies.
To note: PG&E filed for Chapter 11 in January after its equipment was blamed for starting catastrophic wildfires in 2017 and 2018.