In California, the Kincaid wildfires in Sonoma County have cut power to some 200,000 souls and forced residents to evacuate their homes north of San Francisco. PG&E is responding to the blaze by announcing a "Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) in 15 counties in the Sierra Foothills and North Bay -- Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, El Dorado, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sierra, Sonoma, Tehama, and Yuba -- impacting about 178,000 customers in those areas" -- explaining some but not all of the power outages.
Furthermore, PG&E is warning that "it is possible that additional customers not impacted by PSPS may experience power outages due to PG&E equipment damaged during the wind event."
Is any or all of this really PG&E's fault? It's hard to say, but given the close association between "fire," "PG&E stock," and "lawsuits" in many investors' minds these days, any bad news concerning one of the three seems to quickly spread to affect the other two.
What's more, there's also a business reason for the pessimism: Power shut off by PG&E is power not sold by PG&E to its customers -- resulting in revenue losses for the company. Until a permanent solution is found to the problem of wildfires periodically incinerating the state, I imagine that PG&E stock is going to be a tough utility to own.