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THE CALIFORNIA ENERGY CRISIS

PG&E History

April 07, 2001

1905: PG&E is incorporated.

1905-30: PG&E embarks on program to develop hydroelectric power in California, making it one of the state's biggest landowners and one of the nation's biggest hydropower producers, operating dams throughout the Sierra Nevada.

1928: PG&E makes its first natural gas discovery in California.

1985-86: Opens Diablo Canyon nuclear facility on the Central Coast after years of protests over the site's location near an earthquake fault line.

Late 1980s: Cuts more than 2,000 jobs and, with San Francisco-based construction giant Bechtel Corp., forms U.S. Generating, an independent power producer.

Mid-1990s: Settles a lawsuit that claimed it had polluted ground water by discharging toxic waste water. The settlement is one of the biggest in U.S. corporate history and the subject of the movie "Erin Brockovich."

1996: California's landmark power deregulation legislation is signed into law by Gov. Pete Wilson.

1997: PG&E Corp. is formed as a holding company, with the utility Pacific Gas & Electric listed as a subsidiary. The company also buys Bechtel's 50% stake in U.S. Generating. President Robert Glynn becomes CEO.

1998: California opens its electricity markets to competition.

May 2000: Wholesale power prices start to soar as supplies struggle to keep pace with surging demand. The utility cannot pass on soaring costs because of a rate freeze imposed under 1996 deregulation.

Jan. 17, 2001: Gov. Gray Davis signs an emergency proclamation, clearing the way for the state to buy electricity for customers of PG&E and Southern California Edison after producers refuse to keep selling to the near-bankrupt utilities.

Jan. 17-18: Rolling blackouts in Northern and Central California cut power to more than 1 million homes and businesses in PG&E territory.

Jan. 31: PG&E reports that it has spent $8.3 billion more buying electricity since May than it was allowed to collect from its customers.

March 1: PG&E continues to default on payments to creditors, making a partial payment of $228 million to the California Independent System Operator.

March 29: Under orders from state regulators, PG&E pays state $61.8 million for electricity supplied between Jan. 19 and Feb. 11.

April 2: PG&E Corp. announces that it may take a $4.1-billion after-tax charge against earnings, heightening the possibility that its utility arm might have to seek protection in Bankruptcy Court.

April 6: Pacific Gas & Electric Co. files for reorganization under Chapter 11.

Source: Times research; Securities and Exchange Commission; PG&E; Reuters. Researched by MALOY MOORE /Los Angeles Times

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