PG&E shares plunge amid investor fears over wildfires liability

SAN FRANCISCO — Mounting fears over PG&E’s potential liability for the Wine Country inferno, the forbidding prospect of a lengthy probe into the utility’s role in the disaster, and a disclosure Friday that PG&E has $800 million in insurance to cover losses from the blazes shoved the company’s shares into a nose-dive Friday.

Separately, state regulators demanded that PG&E preserve physical and electronic evidence connected to at least seven fires in Northern California — a revelation that suggested that wide-ranging, multiple official investigations may confront PG&E. The lethal wildfires have claimed lives and destroyed homes and businesses in Sonoma and Napa counties.

And in a new regulatory filing on Friday, PG&E said it has about $800 million in liability insurance to cope with “possible losses” that might result from the blazes.

PG&E’s stock plummeted 10.5 percent, or $6.78 a share and closed at $57.72, a one-year low. So far this week, PG&E’s shares have crashed 16.2 percent. It was the company’s worst one-week performance since October 2008, according to Bloomberg News.

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