Skip to content
Subscriber Only

PG&E's `Fix-It' Man Faces Blame for Fire Two Weeks Into Job

  • California’s largest utility filed for bankruptcy in January
  • Cal Fire finds probable violations, sent report to prosecutor
A neighborhood destroyed by the Camp Fire in Paradise, California on Nov. 15, 2018.

A neighborhood destroyed by the Camp Fire in Paradise, California on Nov. 15, 2018.

Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Updated on

Bill Johnson had just walked up to a room full of lawmakers in Sacramento to explain why he was the right person to lead PG&E Corp. out of bankruptcy. The new chief executive officer’s message: I’m the fix-it guy, sent here to seek redemption for California’s largest utility.

And then legislators started whispering. Someone handed assembly member Eloise Gomez Reyes a piece of paper. She was the one to publicly break the news to Johnson, who had started his job two weeks ago: State investigators had just found the company’s power lines at fault for the Camp Fire that killed 85 people and destroyed an entire town in November.