PG&E Bankruptcy Is Deja Vu for Judge Who Handled 2001 Filing

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali knows a thing or two about reorganizing PG&E Corp.

The San Francisco judge assigned Tuesday to oversee the utility’s bankruptcy filing handled its restructuring after California’s 2001 energy crisis, when power prices surged tenfold.

Back then, PG&E faltered under $9 billion in debt after purchasing power for more than it could charge customers under California’s deregulation plan. Montali presided over 2 1/2 years of proceedings, including a trial over competing reorganization plans, that cost PG&E more than $400 million in legal fees. In 2003, Montali and regulators approved a plan allowing PG&E to pay creditors in full by selling $8 billion in bonds and charging customers $4 billion.

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