PG&E’s net income climbs despite wildfire liability questions
Despite questions raised about the company’s liability for the fires in Northern California and a slight drop in operating revenues, net income for Pacific Gas and Electric Co. rose 41 percent for the quarter ended Sept. 30.
In an earnings release Nov. 2, the company brought down its full-year earnings guidance, citing the reinstatement of its liability insurance and an expected increase in private claims from third parties involved in the Butte fire. Earnings are expected to reach $3.36 to $3.56 per share, down around 5 percent from its forecast the previous quarter.
“This is a very difficult time for our customers affected by the recent devastating wildfires, and they continue to be in our thoughts and prayers,” CEO and President Geisha Williams said in a news release. “We recognize that PG&E is going to play a vital part in helping these communities rebuild and recover. We are committed to working together and supporting them throughout that process. We also remain focused on continued investment in vital infrastructure and technology to increase the resilience and the sustainability of California’s energy economy for the future.”
Revenue from natural gas saw a slight increase to $869 million, but electric service fell 8.7 percent to $3.65 billion compared to the previous third quarter. Expenses for the San Francisco-based utility provider also saw a decline, primarily in operations and maintenance, to $3.62 billion, down from $4.17 billion for the same period the prior year.
Net income rose to $553 million, or $1.07 per share, up from $391 million and 77 cents per share respectively in the third quarter of 2016.
Shares fell 0.25 percent after the announcement to $56.99 as of 11:52 a.m. PST. PG&E stock remains down more than 16 percent since the start of the fires in early October.
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