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PUC Approves PG&E Bailout Plan

The California Public Utilities Commission has voted to approve a modified bailout plan for Pacific Gas and Electric to emerge from bankruptcy.

The commission voted three-to-two in favor of the plan that represents a compromise between the utility and one of its most strident critics — The Utility Reform Network.

The deal trims $1 billion from the $7.2 billion bailout bill facing the utility´s customers. Under the plan, PG and E should emerge from bankruptcy early next year.

Loretta Lynch and Carl Wood – the two commissioners who voted against the plan — called it “illegal.”

The revised reorganization plan retains most of the key elements the utility favors — most notably the deal´s financial foundation and provisions that could limit the PUC´s control over PG and E´s future rates.

The biggest change in the compromise proposal requires the state to pass a law authorizing the use of a complicated financing tool that would reduce the interest costs passed on to customers.