March 21, 2002 — The California utility Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E Co.) said it may spend at least $150 million in bankruptcy legal fees, much of which is going to cover legal fees of parent company PG&E Corp.
The utility disclosed the costs in a court filing, the Associated Press reported. Earlier court records show that it has paid about $1 million per week during 2001 to bankruptcy lawyers and accountants.
Combined with the utility’s estimate of $32 million in legal fees during 2001, the utility now has paid more than $180 million since it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April 2001 after it was overcome by rising power costs which it was not allowed to pass on to consumers.
Consumer groups and the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC), which opposes PG&E Co.’s reorganization plan, said the case has grown too expensive because of the utility’s wish to be freed from state regulation, AP said.
The fees will reduce the amount of available money PG&E Co. would use to pay its creditors.