PG&E, US's largest utility, files for bankruptcy

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The Latest on PG&E bankruptcy filing (all times local):

3:45 p.m.

A U.S. judge says he will give the public a chance to weigh in on Pacific Gas & Electric Corp.'s bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali made the comment at a hearing Tuesday, hours after the nation's largest utility filed for Chapter 11 reorganization.

Montali did not rule on any requests by PG&E, including approval for up to $5.5 billion in financing.

He said he had not yet had a chance to catch up with all the paperwork PG&E had filed. He set another hearing for Thursday.

The courtroom was packed with attorneys for PG&E, wildfire victims and the company's creditors.

PG&E has said it is facing billions of dollars in potential damages from California wildfires.

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2:55 p.m.

After Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. filed for bankruptcy, S&P Global Ratings lowered the utility's credit rating to D, which is below junk status.

It's a standard response when a company files for bankruptcy protection, as the utility did Tuesday amid billions of dollars in potential liability from deadly wildfires in California in 2017 and 2018.

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11:15 a.m.

The interim chief executive of Pacific Gas & Electric said after the company filed for bankruptcy that it's most important responsibility is to safety.

John R. Simon said in a statement Tuesday that the country's largest utility is dedicated to rebuilding California communities devastated by wildfires. He said PG&E needs to find a more sustainable way to deliver energy.

Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. filed documents in a U.S. court Tuesday seeking Chapter 11 reorganization. It faces billions of dollars in potential damages from California wildfires.

The company has pointed to hundreds of lawsuits it's facing from victims of fires in 2017 and 2018.

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10:20 a.m.

A U.S. judge in San Francisco is wasting little time as he begins to address Pacific Gas & Electric Corp.'s bankruptcy filing.

Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali scheduled a hearing in the case for Tuesday, hours after the nation's largest utility filed for Chapter 11 reorganization.

Montali said in a brief order that he wouldn't make any decisions or hear arguments on numerous PG&E requests. The company is asking the judge to approve up to $5.5 billion in financing and allow it to keep paying employees, among other requests.

Montali said the sides will discuss the scheduling of important court hearings in the days and weeks ahead.

PG&E filed for bankruptcy as it faces billions of dollars in potential damages from wildfires in California.

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1:30 a.m.

The largest utility in the U.S. has filed for bankruptcy as it faces billions of dollars in potential damages from wildfires in California.

Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. filed documents in a U.S. court Tuesday seeking Chapter 11 reorganization. The move comes despite state investigators determining last week that the utility's equipment was not to blame for a 2017 fire that killed 22 people in Northern California wine country.

The company cited hundreds of lawsuits from victims of that blaze and others in 2017 and 2018 when it announced this month that it planned to file for bankruptcy.

It's already facing lawsuits over a November blaze in the town of Paradise that killed at least 86 people and destroyed 15,000 homes, though its cause is still under investigation.

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10:00 p.m.

California regulators are poised to remove a major hurdle to a planned bankruptcy filing by Pacific Gas & Electric Co.

The California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously Monday at a hastily announced meeting to allow PG&E to immediately obtain credit and loans while it's under Chapter 11. PG&E normally needs to go through a lengthy approval process for such financing. Monday's decision exempted it from that requirement.

PG&E announced earlier this month that it will file for bankruptcy in the face of billions of dollars in potential damages from catastrophic wildfires in California in 2017 and 2018.

The company later said it had lined up $5.5 billion in credit and loans that would allow it to continue operating in bankruptcy.

California regulators are poised for a bankruptcy declaration by the nation's largest utility as it faces billions of dollars in potential damages from wildfires in the state.

Pacific Gas and Electric Corp. had said the decision could come Tuesday. The California Public Utilities Commission scrambled ahead of the deadline to ensure PG&E would have financing that the company says it would need to continue providing electric and gas service under Chapter 11.

The four members of the commission voted unanimously Monday at a raucous, hastily announced meeting to exempt PG&E from a longer approval process for bankruptcy credit and loans.

The decision cleared a major obstacle to the company's planned bankruptcy filing, but also likely set off a yearslong court battle.

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