PG&E asks for permission to settle claims under $100,000

The Associated Press
Thursday December 13, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO — California’s largest utility wants to investigate and settle claims from its creditors who are owed less than $100,000 without review by a bankruptcy court or other creditors. 

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. also has asked U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali for permission to object to claims it believes are duplicated, already satisfied or otherwise resolved. 

Ron Low, a PG&E spokesman, said Wednesday the utility has found billions of dollars of claims filed against it that are unsubstantiated or duplicated. Though about $44 billion in claims were filed against it, PG&E believes it owes roughly $13 billion to its creditors, Low said. 

Roughly 80 percent of the 12,800 claims filed against PG&E are for amounts less than or near $100,000. Starting the settlement of these claims could help the utility emerge from bankruptcy more quickly, Low said. 

PG&E is asking Montali’s permission to resolve several types of claims without having to seek review and approval afterward from either the official committee of creditors or Montali himself. 

The utility also wants to bypass review of settlements it reaches with some larger creditors who claim they are owed more than $100,000, but less than $5 million 

PG&E would pay any settlements reached after its plan of reorganization goes into effect, Low said. Claims not settled between the parties would be resolved in court. 

Low said the creditors committee agrees with the proposals. A representative of that committee did not immediately return calls seeking comment Wednesday. 

PG&E filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection April 6 after a rate freeze prevented it from passing along soaring energy costs to its customers, pushing the utility into debt. 


On the Net: 

Pacific Gas and Electric Co.: http://www.pge.com