Energy & Utility Bankruptcy – Who Pays?

This week, PG&E started the process of filing for bankruptcy protection in the fallout of this past summer’s massive California wildfire season. GreenTech Media covers the announcement here…

https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/pge-files-for-bankruptcy-protection-facing-billions-in-wildfire-liabilities?utm_medium=email&utm_source=Daily&utm_campaign=GTMDaily#gs.1m8zMEz0

This raises the important question of how exposed energy & utility infrastructure is to damage from wildfire, flood, earthquake, and other threats. BC has seen escalating wildfire damage over the past few years, so it is a fair question to ask how BC Hydro, Fortis, Enbridge, & others are managing their risks.

In the case of BC Hydro, rates already climb 3-4% every year. As a ratepayer, I have several related concerns…

1. How will the almost certain escalation in insurance costs over the coming years impact the acceleration of electricity rate increases?

2. Will already stretched fire & emergency response teams be asked to prioritize the protection of infrastructure over personal homes & property?

3. How vulnerable is our existing power distribution grid to catastrophes?

This past fall here in BC, we saw how a natural gas pipeline explosion that took a month to sort out, sent ripple effects through the economy. We are told to expect higher food prices & higher winter heating costs as a result. What additional economic & environmental costs would appear on our doorsteps should other resource pipelines & infrastructure get hit with disaster? Prevention is nearly impossible, so the goal has to be mitigation & ultimate responsibility for the known risks associated with the work. Costs of “plan-B” always have a way of getting passed down to the end-user.

GreenTech Media has a follow-up article on PG&E specifically addressing questions regarding the handling of liability costs, ongoing power generation agreements, migration plans to renewables, and development plans for micro grids & energy storage.
A very interesting read…

https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/pge-questions-coming-bankruptcy?utm_medium=email&utm_source=Daily&utm_campaign=GTMDaily#gs.aaP71UCp

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: