Though the exact cause of the Kincade Fire in northern Sonoma County hasn't yet been determined, news of a live high-voltage transmission line that "malfunctioned" in the area where the fire ignited has investors once again dumping their PG&E stock.
PG&E's stock sank 10 percent in trading Thursday afternoon even before the news about the transmission line had come out — as the Motley Fool reports, just the fact that the fire was happening amid a public safety power shutoff was enough to scare investors. But as of Friday morning, the stock price was down another 26 percent, hovering at around $5.31, following the news that one of the company's lines might have been the cause of the fire. As the Chronicle noted after the markets opened Friday, due to PG&E's bankruptcy, any new claims from wildfires like the Kincade Fire will need to be paid out before it can exit bankruptcy, and further situations like this jeopardize the ease of that exit.
With the latest stock slide, PG&E has lost another billion dollars in value. Since the days before the Camp Fire last November, PG&E's has lost 89 percent of its value, dropping from a November 6 high of $48.58 per share. Back before the Wine Country fires of 2017, the stock was trading around $70 per share.
Friday's lows around $5.30 beat the previous low price of $7.23 back in January after the company's bankruptcy was announced.
Meanwhile, as CNBC reports, stock in generator-maker Generac Holdings just hit an all-time high, as the surge in demand for backup generators booms across California.
As we learned Thursday, PG&E had cut off the low-voltage lines serving its customers in the area around where the Kincade Fire began Wednesday night, however the high-voltage transmission lines passing through the area remained live. The complete explanation for how this all transpired remains to be heard.
The fire has destroyed 49 structures so far, including a couple of dozen homes — including the home of Julia Jackson, one of the proprietors of Kendall-Jackson Winery. As Jackson tells the Chronicle, the Pocket Fire in 2017 just "grazed" the upper part of her property, but her family home had survived all the area's fires over the years, until this one.