PG&E Shuts Power Off; Zuck To Testify; Ken Fisher Is Pretty Creepy
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IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S US
It looks like PG&E learned its lesson after it was blamed for some of the largest wildfires in California history.
More than 2M Californians across more than 800k households will be without power as PG&E looks to prevent forest fires. Somebody listened to Smokey. The forecast calls for historically high winds and low humidity in the region, so PG&E did the logical thing: blackout.
On Wednesday morning, the power players shut off more than 513K customers’ power across more than 22 counties in the Bay Area and beyond, and the second and third phases were expected to hit another 276K across Central CA.
Some other cities that weren’t on official PG&E shutdown maps also lost power, but PG&E said they aren’t sure what’s going on with that. In completely unrelated news, former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling was released from jail earlier this year …
When does it end?
PG&E said it expects winds to die down by midday Thursday, but by then the damage could already be done. According to analysts at Stanford, the shut down could cost the state up to $2.5B, depending on how many businesses are affected.
When it rains it pours
As if suddenly losing power wasn’t bad enough, PG&E was having tech issues as the shutdowns began. Users were able to visit the company’s site to see if their region would be affected, and the website promptly crashed.
The bottom line …
Dealing with a bunch of angry-yet-somehow-still-super-chill Cali bros is event PG&E’s only fire drill. The judge presiding over its bankruptcy opened the door for Elliott Management, bondholders, and wildfire victims to propose their own Chapter 11 plans for the embroiled power company.
According to PG&E the move could allow Elliott and the gang to grab control of the firm at a steep discount. The power company still stands by its original Chapter 11 plan, saying it’s best for everyone involved … especially them. By the end of the day, shares had sunk 27%.
THERE WILL BE BLOOD
Zuck will get his day in court, er Congress, on October 23rd, as he’s been asked to testify in front of a House panel regarding Facebook’s cryptocurrency, Libra. He’ll be tasked with convincing the committee that rolling out a worldwide cryptocurrency is kosher.
The haters will argue that international crime lords and your local pot dealer alike will use the crypto for nefarious purposes. Shout out Silk Road. And the committee will almost certainly focus on Facebook’s checkered privacy record *cough* Cambridge Analytica *cough*.
The EU has similar concerns. Governments across the pond believe that Libra will undermine the euro and be used as a money-laundering tool. Apparently, HSBC, ING, and Danske Bank are scared of a little competition.
Why is this a BFD?
Zuck and his comrades plan to meet in Geneva next week (before his hearing) to discuss the project, appoint a board to oversee it and presumably take some sort of blood oath sacrificing their firstborn to Zuckerlord. This will be a real test of the companies’ commitment to the cause.
You might remember that PayPal (ever heard of them) bailed on the project just last week. If more major partners follow suit, this thing could start unraveling more quickly than things did between Mark the Winklevii. Too soon?
The bottom line …
Zuck has promised that if the US government can’t get on board with Libra he’ll pull the plug … which is not very cypherpunk of him at all. The next few weeks may ultimately decide whether Zuck moves forward with his decentralized currency … or just goes back to doing what he does best: smoking meats.
Oh, and HODLers, you might want to tune in to C-SPAN on the 23rd as Uncle Sam’s remarks could shift market sentiment on actual cryptos as investors look for clues regarding mainstream acceptance.
IN OTHER NEWS
- Let’s make a deal. The US is considering rolling out a currency pact with China. The previously agreed-upon, but not enacted, pact would be part of a deal that would suspend a tariff increase set to occur net week. This dialogue comes as Chinese negotiators arrive in DC to resume trade talks, which are the first of their kind since July.
- F*ck boy fall. Noted horn dog Ken Fisher gave a jaw-dropping keynote at a financial services conference in San Francisco yesterday. The billionaire money manager spoke passionately about how he built his company … but then started comparing gaining a client’s trust to getting in a girl’s pants. He also mentioned that executives who aren’t comfortable discussing the genitalia should not be in the financial services industry. Clearly, this guy f*cks.
- Join the club. Greece sold debt with a negative interest rate for the first time Wednesday, joining the club of European debt peddlers that have gone sub-zero. The country, which emerged from an eight-year bailout program just last year, issued $535M of three-month debt that yields -0.02%. To put this rags to riches story into perspective, Greece issued 10-year bonds at an astronomical 35% yield in 2012.
- Another day in court. Johnson and Johnson, which has been in the news lately for its baby powder lawsuits, was ordered to pay $8B to a man, Nicholas Murray. Why, you may ask? He took the company’s antipsychotic drug Risperdal at the age of 9 and developed breasts from it. The jury found that J&J failed to warn users about the drug’s side effect, which is called gynecomastia. Thousands of others have filed lawsuits alleging the same thing.
- Vape nation unite! Vapers, we are under attack again. This time from abroad, as Alibaba is suspending the sales of e-cigs to buyers in the US. By the time you’re reading this, it will be too late, as the sale restriction goes into effect today. The Chinese e-commerce giant cites that it’s concerned about underage vaping and mysterious lung illnesses.
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