Case Study

Uncovering the relevant nuances and specific experts to understand the impact of the California wildfires

  • Multi Asset
  • Utilities
  • North America

The Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is an American investor-owned utility (IOU) with publicly traded stock. Headquartered in San Francisco, PG&E provides natural gas and electricity to most of the northern two-thirds of California. On January 14, 2019, PG&E announced that it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in response to the financial challenges associated with the catastrophic wildfires that occurred in Northern California in 2017 and 2018.

Third Bridge was very insightful on the PG&E situation. It’s hard to talk about Californian regulatory issues without considering the politics. The political issue is the most important with PG&E, so it’s great to get an unfiltered view, which is not something we would get from any other research sources.

Prop Desk Analyst, Top Tier Investment Bank

Research Insight

Beginning in September 2018 and while the wildfires were still burning, Third Bridge Connections began researching the situation for investors across the U.S. and Europe. 

Third Bridge mapped the potential impacts and angles of the bankruptcy declaration on client positions, revealing potential concerns about liability, possible claims, rate case approval process through state and federal regulatory bodies, outlook for the insurance industry, risk reduction costs, valuation of assets and historical transaction precedents. 

Third Bridge then developed bespoke lists of specialists who could provide insights for clients in these areas. The experts included:

  • Lawyers who had served as general counsel for utilities or had litigated cases involving utilities
  • Property and casualty insurance executives
  • Former California Public Utilities Commission commissioners and employees
  • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission specialists
  • Former employees of PG&E

Outcome

Because of the depth of research, asking the right questions of both clients and experts and anticipating concerns, Third Bridge was able to help clients in each asset class navigate an extremely complex crisis, including the insurance aspect, the level and success of PG&E’s lobbying efforts, the outlook for its business and the Rate Cases and actual infrastructure of PG&E.