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PG&E Shares Rise Even as Epic Blackouts Roil California

Gerson Freitas Jr.

(Bloomberg) -- PG&E Corp.’s decision to cut power in wide swaths of Northern California to prevent wildfires will leave millions in the dark and may cost the state’s economy billions of dollars. But it’s not hurting the company’s shares.

The San Francisco-based utility owner gained as much as 2.8% Wednesday. That’s largely because the outages won’t have much, if any, impact on PG&E’s earnings, which are largely based on capital investment returns rather than the amount of electricity sold. Plus, utilities across the board are rising Wednesday, with NextEra Energy Inc. hitting an all-time high.

“I don’t see a whole lot negative about them turning off the power,” Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Kit Konolige said in an interview. “They have been talking for days about potentially having to turn off the power. So there shouldn’t be any surprise here.”

The shares may also be benefiting, he said, from investors expecting that federal bankruptcy judge Dennis Montali will allow PG&E to retain the exclusive right to propose a Chapter 11 reorganization plan. The judge held a hearing on the issue Monday, and his decision is pending.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gerson Freitas Jr. in São Paulo at gfreitasjr@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: James Attwood at jattwood3@bloomberg.net, Joe Ryan, Christine Buurma

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