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Utilities are becoming a risky business thanks to climate change

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on TIME or enjoy below

🗞️ Driving the news: The Maui wildfires have killed over 100 people and resulted in billions in damages
• Concerns arise regarding the role of Hawaiian Electric Industries, as there are suspicions that their power lines could have ignited the fire
• Their stock plummeted almost 70% within a month, and their ratings have been downgraded to junk status

🔭 The context: Historically, investor-owned utilities were portfolio staples due to their stability
• Yet, events like Pacific Gas & Electric's 2019 bankruptcy and looming lawsuits against Xcel Energy are reshaping these longstanding investor perceptions

🌎 Why does it matter for the planet: Utility sectors are facing increasing risks due to climate-related events, which can have significant ramifications for investors
• Many pensions and retirement accounts are at stake: The California pension funds, for instance, endured substantial losses in the PG&E bankruptcy

⏭️ What's next: Other utility companies in wildfire-prone regions are recognizing similar perils
• Both Edison International and Berkshire Hathaway Energy Company have recently reported their efforts to minimize wildfire risks caused by their equipment, emphasizing the potential inadequacy of insurance coverage

💬 One quote: "Across sectors, executives would be well served to look at their operations and ask: what climate risk should I be adapting to right now? It may save them in the long run" (Justin Worland, senior correspondent at TIME) 

📈 One stat: The utility sector in the U.S. has a total market cap of more than $1.5 trillion, making it a significant component of many pensions and retirement accounts.

Click for more news covering the latest on climate change

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