Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) announced Monday, Jan. 14 it will be declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy later this month, after not being able to pay billions of dollars in liability claims from the past two years of wildfires, according to the company’s website.
The company estimates it is facing a total of $30 billion in liability damages for the 2017 and 2018 wildfires, according to the New York Times. The New York Times also reported that investigators determined PG&E to be the cause of at least 17 of 21 Northern California fires in 2017, and some of the fires in 2018, such as the fire in Paradise that killed 86 people and destroyed an entire town.
In the past, PG&E has been a large donor to the university. In 2012, the utility company donated $20,000 to Cal Poly’s student-athlete scholarship fund, according to a PG&E news release. Before that, PG&E had donated $28,000 to the Cal Poly student-athlete scholarship program.
The company’s 2017 charitable contributions records also show that $2,500 were donated to Cal Poly Corporation and $57,900 to Cal Poly State University Foundation for education.
In Fall 2018, social sciences students discovered the remains of a Chumash Village while excavating land on the PG&E owned Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant for the Archaeological Field Methods (ANT 310) class.
After the discovery, PG&E began to focus on conservation and preservation of the land and granted two students the Richard A. Clarke Environmental Leadership Award, as well as $5,000 to the Social Sciences Learn by Doing fund, the Social Sciences Department wrote in a newsletter.
PG&E announced on their website that their charitable program would be on hold for 2019 and no donations would be made towards events, programs or partnerships.
Cal Poly did not respond immediately for comment on how the bankruptcy would affect Cal Poly’s donations and funds.