• Bloomberg

    PG&E Has No Intention of Paying People for Blackout Right Now

    (Bloomberg) -- The millions of Californians who were plunged into darkness during an unprecedented blackout last week shouldn’t expect a check in the mail from bankrupt utility giant PG&E Corp. anytime soon. When asked by a state regulator on Friday whether the utility plans to pay back customers for the costs of the outage, PG&E utility chief Andrew Vesey said the company hasn’t “committed to making those reimbursements.” It’s not “our intention to undertake a reimbursement,” he said at a meeting in San Francisco.California Governor Gavin Newsom had called on PG&E to refund residential customers affected $100 each and businesses $250 for the shutoff. Vesey said the company would be open to talking with regulators about the idea at a later date.To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Chediak in San Francisco at mchediak@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Lynn Doan at ldoan6@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    PG&E to California: How About You Try Calling the Next Blackout?

    (Bloomberg) -- The chief of California utility giant PG&E Corp. has a suggestion for those state officials attacking the company over an unprecedented blackout it orchestrated last week to prevent wildfires: Why don’t you try making the call next time?Bill Johnson, chief executive officer of the embattled power company, posed the idea in a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday -- just before attending a meeting in San Francisco where he was blasted by state regulators. In his letter, Johnson said perhaps the state’s utility commission or its fire agency should make future decisions on whether to turn off the lights. Currently, that responsibility lies with three PG&E vice presidents.Johnson noted that PG&E’s analysis of the event went unchallenged at an inter-agency meeting ahead of the blackout, which plunged more than 2 million people into darkness. “There was consensus,” he said. And the company said it doesn’t intend to reimburse affected customers as Newsom had proposed that it do earlier this week.At the meeting on Friday, California’s utility regulator wasn’t buying Johnson’s idea. The company’s shutoff has drawn outrage from residents and state officials who say the blackout was more extensive than necessary and wasn’t properly communicated. Banks, offices, restaurants, pharmacies, grocery stores and others were forced shut. Traffic lights went down. Government agencies hauled out costly backup generators to keep critical operations running. In all, the economic impact may have topped $2.6 billion.“I can tell you, you guys failed on so many levels on pretty simple stuff,” California Public Utilities Commission President Marybel Batjer said at the meeting. “This isn’t hard.”‘Digging Deep’Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma described Johnson’s idea of leaving future decisions in the state’s hands as “looking to give somebody else the responsibility versus digging down deep and looking at what meaningful changes need to be made.”Johnson insisted that he wasn’t trying to evade responsibility but to bolster the public’s confidence in decisions made. “There is commentary out there that we can’t be trusted,” he said. “If the decision authority goes somewhere else, we would still do all the analysis.”Others have raised the idea since the blackout. When asked about a state-level decision last week, Newsom himself would only call it an “interesting question” and “one we’ve asked ourselves on multiple occasions.”Two consecutive years of deadly wildfires sparked by PG&E’s power lines during high winds drove the company into bankruptcy in January, facing $30 billion in liabilities. Johnson told the commission on Friday that cutting power last week may have helped prevent another disastrous blaze. After the winds subsided, PG&E found more than 100 instances of damaged equipment.Poor Execution“We didn’t have any catastrophic fires in northern and central California, and that was the sole purpose of the shutoff,” Johnson told the commission Friday.He conceded however that the blackout wasn’t executed as well as it could’ve been. Local governments said they received conflicting information from PG&E representatives. A group of county and city officials compared the experience in a filing to “battling the Hydra” and said their liaisons were forced to sit “alone in a conference room” separated from the company’s emergency operations center by three security gates.PG&E executives including Johnson acknowledged that they need to improve their communication and coordination with agencies -- because last week’s blackout won’t be the last. Johnson told commissioners that it will probably take ten years for PG&E to shore up its grid enough so that shutoffs can be “ratcheted down significantly.”To contact the reporters on this story: David R. Baker in San Francisco at dbaker116@bloomberg.net;Mark Chediak in San Francisco at mchediak@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Lynn Doan at ldoan6@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • FX Empire

    GBP/USD Weekly Price Forecast – British Pound Slams Into Major Level

    The British pound initially pulled back a bit during the week but then shot through the roof and slammed into the 1.30 level. Ultimately, this is a market that has possibly gotten ahead of itself as Parliament is yet to vote on the deal Boris Johnson struck.

  • FX Empire

    GBP/USD Price Forecast – British Pound Sideways On Friday

    The British pound has gone back and forth during the session on Friday, as traders await the results of Parliament voting on the deal that Boris Johnson returned from the European Union with. That being said, we are a bit overstretched going into the weekend.

  • Facebook's (FB) Watch to Get Exclusive Shows From FOX Sports
    Zacks

    Facebook's (FB) Watch to Get Exclusive Shows From FOX Sports

    Facebook's (FB) Watch to receive sports-related digital shows and content from recent partnership with Fox Sports amid the intensifying sports streaming battle.

  • What's in Store for Las Vegas Sands (LVS) in Q3 Earnings?
    Zacks

    What's in Store for Las Vegas Sands (LVS) in Q3 Earnings?

    Las Vegas Sands' (LVS) third-quarter 2019 top line is anticipated to reflect decline in revenues at Sand Cotai Central.

  • Pound After Brexit: Where To Go
    FX Empire

    Pound After Brexit: Where To Go

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Union leaders agreed a new deal for Britain to exit the bloc. The possible deal news was the main contributor behind the strengthening of the British Pound against the dollar by more than 6% over the week close to 1.30 levels at the peak of growth on Thursday.

  • Will Tariffs, Weak Margins Hurt iRobot (IRBT) in Q3 Earnings?
    Zacks

    Will Tariffs, Weak Margins Hurt iRobot (IRBT) in Q3 Earnings?

    iRobot's (IRBT) third-quarter 2019 earnings might reflect adverse impacts of high tariffs, manufacturing diversification, promotional and pricing activities, and product launches.

  • Why Graphic Packaging (GPK) is Poised to Beat Earnings Estimates Again
    Zacks

    Why Graphic Packaging (GPK) is Poised to Beat Earnings Estimates Again

    Graphic Packaging (GPK) has an impressive earnings surprise history and currently possesses the right combination of the two key ingredients for a likely beat in its next quarterly report.

  • Things You Should Know About the EIA Crude Inventory Report
    Zacks

    Things You Should Know About the EIA Crude Inventory Report

    The federal government's EIA report revealed that crude inventories rose by 9.3 million barrels, compared to the 4 million barrels increase that energy analysts had expected.

  • Alexion to Buy Achillion for $930M, Strengthen PNH Franchise
    Zacks

    Alexion to Buy Achillion for $930M, Strengthen PNH Franchise

    Alexion (ALXN) will buy Achillion for $930 million to strengthen its PNH franchise.

  • Investing.com

    U.S. Dollar Slips as Euro Still Lifted by Brexit Deal

    Investing.com - The U.S. dollar was lower against other currencies on Friday, while the euro was buoyed by hope that a Brexit deal will help mitigate risks of a recession in the bloc.

  • GBP/USD, USD/CAD, USD/MXN – North American Session Daily Forecast
    FX Empire

    GBP/USD, USD/CAD, USD/MXN – North American Session Daily Forecast

    The Canadian dollar has settled down on Friday, after considerable gains on Thursday. The British pound is steady, ahead of a possibly historic vote over Brexit on Saturday. The Mexican peso continues to trade at a 10-week high against the greenback.

  • After Years of Fiery Hell, California Gets Less of a Scorching in 2019
    Bloomberg

    After Years of Fiery Hell, California Gets Less of a Scorching in 2019

    (Bloomberg) -- Mother Nature has given a bit of a break to California during the 2019 wildfire season, but firefighters say the threat remains in force.Only about 163,000 acres have burned this year, a fraction of the 632,000 or so scorched in the same period last year. A wet, snowy winter led to a widespread greening in the spring, signaling there would be plenty of tinder around after a hot, dry summer. But the landscape stayed relatively moist after clouds moored above the Sierra Nevadas in May slowed the snow melt.With weather as an ally, firefighters were able to spend more time finding and containing hot spots before they spread. Meanwhile, PG&E Corp. has suggested its blackout of 2 million people this month may also have helped. After the cutoffs, the company said it found more than 100 instances of wind-driven equipment damage that could have caused fires.“How we warm up and how we dry out are pretty important on how we set up the fire regime for the rest of the year,” said Mike Anderson, a state climatologist in Sacramento. “This year our heat didn’t show up until August. We actually caught a break.”Two years of wildfires helped push PG&E, the state’s biggest utility owner, into bankruptcy after its equipment was identified as the cause of raging blazes that included the Camp Fire in November 2018 that killed 86 people and destroyed an entire town. This month, the company responded by cutting power to residents across northern and central California to make sure its equipment didn’t cause harm once again.While that move has faced fierce criticism, PG&E crews inspecting more than 27,500 miles (44,257 kilometers) of power lines after the blackout found wind damage that included trees tangled with power lines and utility poles knocked to the ground, according to spokesman Jeff Smith.“Had we not shut off power, this type of damage could have sparked a fire,” PG&E Chief Executive Officer Bill Johnson said in an opinion story in Thursday’s San Francisco Chronicle. “In fact, vegetation contacting lines was the very cause of a number of fires in the North Bay two years ago.”Still, the consensus among forecasters and firefighters is that neither the state nor its utilities are out of the danger zone yet.The wildfire season runs into winter, when about 90% of the state’s rain and snow descends. In the meantime, while the state’s bone-dry season was delayed, it wasn’t eliminated. Very low humidity levels combined with high winds rolling down mountain sides -- the “Santa Ana” winds in Southern California, and the “Diablos” in the north -- remain a threat for wildfires ahead.Late season blazes can be very dangerous. In December 2017, for instance, the Thomas fire covered 281,893 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, destroying more than 1,000 structures.“Everyone who is commenting on this year is doing so with their fingers crossed,” said Keith Gilless, dean emeritus of the U.C. Berkeley College of Natural Resources, in a telephone interview.The concern now is focused on as many as 147 million dead trees still standing in California’s forests that were killed by a six-year drought earlier in the decade and a subsequent infestation of bark beetles, said Scott McLean, spokesman for the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection, commonly called Cal Fire.California this year had 400 extra seasonal firefighters to help tamp down spot fires and implement prescribed burns to limit the amount of tinder in key areas, according to McLean. “It’s hard to say what the rest of this year is going to bring,” he added. “We probably should see more fire activity into November at some point.”To contact the reporters on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at bsullivan10@bloomberg.net;David R. Baker in San Francisco at dbaker116@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tina Davis at tinadavis@bloomberg.net, Reg Gale, Steven FrankFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • GBP/USD Daily Forecast – All Eyes on Weekend Vote
    FX Empire

    GBP/USD Daily Forecast – All Eyes on Weekend Vote

    GBP/USD has seen an incredible surge higher over the last week or so. Where the pair goes from here largely depends on how UK parliament votes on the latest Brexit Deal.

  • Will Sputtering Global Growth and the Just-Announced Brexit Deal Support Gold?
    FX Empire

    Will Sputtering Global Growth and the Just-Announced Brexit Deal Support Gold?

    3 percent – that’s the new IMF global growth forecast for 2019. It’s the lowest one since the Great Financial Crisis. Is the much talked about recession coming? And what about the just reached Brexit deal? Can they both make gold rally?

  • Marathon Petroleum Board, Investors Are Said to Discuss CEO
    Bloomberg

    Marathon Petroleum Board, Investors Are Said to Discuss CEO

    (Bloomberg) -- Marathon Petroleum Corp. board members are meeting this week with activist investors to discuss Chief Executive Officer Gary Heminger’s future and the company’s strategy amid calls to split up its businesses, according to people familiar with the matter.After investors Paul Foster and Jeff Stevens met with several board members on Wednesday, representatives for Elliott Management Corp. and D.E. Shaw & Co. plan to meet with directors Thursday, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the meeting wasn’t public. Foster and Stevens together control about 1.7% of the second-biggest U.S. refiner.Marathon is aiming to make a decision on the CEO and its strategy going forward by the time of the company’s third-quarter earnings call on Oct. 31, the people said. The activists view Executive Vice Chairman Greg Goff, who joined Marathon after its purchase of Andeavor, as a well-respected potential replacement for Heminger, according to the people. Representatives for Elliott, D.E. Shaw, Foster and Stevens declined to comment.“Marathon has delivered substantial shareholder value under the leadership of Chairman and CEO Gary Heminger, who has the full support of the board,” Marathon said in a statement. “As we have said publicly, the company is conducting a comprehensive strategic review, and has been collecting feedback from many shareholders as is our practice. The review is ongoing and no conclusions have been reached.”Marathon shares rose 2.3% to $64.10 in New York after earlier climbing as much as 4.3%.Last month Elliott, which recently took a 2.5% stake in Marathon, renewed its push for Marathon to split into three separate companies in order to unlock more than $22 billion in value. Foster and Stevens released a letter days later demanding Heminger’s ouster. D.E. Shaw, which owned a 0.9% stake as of the end of June, has also been pushing Marathon to find ways to unlock more value, according to people familiar with the matter.In their meeting this week, Stevens and Foster told board members that they’re hearing significant support among shareholders for Heminger to step down and agreement with Elliott’s plan to break up the company, according to one of the people. But board members responded that shareholders have told Marathon’s investor relations team that they don’t object to Heminger staying on as CEO, the person said.Heminger -- who was given an exemption from the company’s age-65 mandatory retirement rule in July 2018 -- took charge of the Findlay, Ohio-based company when Marathon Oil Corp. spun off the business in 2011 and has been fighting activist shareholders ever since. While the Ohio native has previously assuaged investors including Jana Partners LLC and overseen a five-fold rise in dividend payouts, the company has faltered more recently as it sought to expand through acquisitions, including the purchase of rival Andeavor.Heminger appeared with Goff in a video posted to YouTube two weeks ago, with the CEO saying he welcomes feedback from shareholders.“Aligning two organizations of this size is complex and challenging, but we’ve been steadily improving our operations,” Heminger, sitting in a wood-paneled room, said on the video. “We agree that our share value does not fully reflect the underlying value of our assets.”\--With assistance from Kiel Porter and Rachel Adams-Heard.To contact the reporters on this story: Scott Deveau in New York at sdeveau2@bloomberg.net;David Wethe in Houston at dwethe@bloomberg.net;Catherine Ngai in New York at cngai16@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net, Christine BuurmaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • What to Watch: Eddie Stobart takeover talk, LSE hunts finance chief, and stocks slide on China data
    Yahoo Finance UK

    What to Watch: Eddie Stobart takeover talk, LSE hunts finance chief, and stocks slide on China data

    A daily overview of the top business, market, and economic stories to watch in the UK, Europe, and abroad.

  • Policymaker: Smooth Brexit deal will mean higher interest rates
    Yahoo Finance UK

    Policymaker: Smooth Brexit deal will mean higher interest rates

    There would be 'some pickup in investment' if Johnson manages to get his deal through parliament, says Bank of England's deputy governor.

  • Pound hovers at 5-month highs ahead of crunch Brexit deal vote
    Yahoo Finance UK

    Pound hovers at 5-month highs ahead of crunch Brexit deal vote

    MPs will on Saturday vote whether to approve Boris Johnson's new deal, with the Prime Minister widely expected to lose.

  • A Google for Startups chief reveals the one piece of advice she'd give to her younger self
    Yahoo Finance UK

    A Google for Startups chief reveals the one piece of advice she'd give to her younger self

    Serial tech entrepreneur and head of Google for Startups UK, Marta Krupinska, gives her top advice.

  • Three Men at PG&E Decide When Californians Go Dark to Stop Fires
    Bloomberg

    Three Men at PG&E Decide When Californians Go Dark to Stop Fires

    (Bloomberg) -- Since an unprecedented blackout plunged millions of Californians into darkness last week, residents and state officials have questioned how utility giant PG&E Corp. came to the decision to cut the lights.Now they have some answers.In a report filed with California utility regulators on Thursday, the San Francisco-based company said three vice presidents are responsible for deciding whether the power goes out to keep electrical lines from igniting blazes: Michael Lewis, senior vice president of electric operations; Sumeet Singh, vice president of asset and risk management; and Ahmad Ababneh, vice president of electric operations on major projects and programs. Two more vice presidents will join the bunch in 2020.PG&E said the utility has already provided the factors these officials take into account in deciding. In a September 2018 document, the company said it uses national fire danger ratings, National Weather Service warnings, humidity levels, temperature, terrain and local climate to weigh shutoffs. The utility said at the time that it expected to cut service once or twice a year. So far in 2019, it has shut power at least thrice.PG&E has been taking more extreme measures to keep its lines from sparking blazes since a series of catastrophic wildfires in 2017 and 2018 saddled the company with an estimated $30 billion in liabilities and forced it into bankruptcy. Last week’s blackout -- the largest one the utility has ever orchestrated -- has drawn outrage from politicians who said the outage was too extensive and that the company did a poor job of communicating it to customers.“There are crucial lessons to learn from this event, and we are committed to learning and doing a better job across the board,” PG&E Chief Executive Officer Bill Johnson said in a letter accompanying the report.PG&E also said in the filing that the company’s board of directors doesn’t directly influence shutoff decisions. But it noted that a board committee oversees the company’s wildfire safety plan -- which includes shutoffs.\--With assistance from Mark Chediak.To contact the reporter on this story: Lynn Doan in San Francisco at ldoan6@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lynn Doan at ldoan6@bloomberg.net, Aaron ClarkFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Investing.com

    Pound Slips Ahead of Vote; Lira Surges on Syria Ceasefire

    Investing.com -- The dollar was mixed in narrow ranged in early trading in Europe Friday, while the pound retreated as doubts swirled both about the merits of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal and about the likelihood of him persuading Parliament to approve it.

  • FX Empire

    China’s Economy Slows but Could Have Been Worse. Next up, Brexit

    While China’s economy slowed in the 3rd quarter, things could have been much worse. Relief all round as focus now shifts to Brexit…

  • Investing.com

    Pound Gives Up Gain as DUP Rejects Deal “as Things Stand”

    Investing.com - The British pound gave up gains on Friday in Asia as traders digested the latest Brexit news.

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