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PG&E employees Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) employees work to fix downed power lines burned by wildfires in this aerial photograph taken above Santa Rosa, California, on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017. (Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)

The lights would stay on if California utility giant PG&E Corp. files for bankruptcy. But the company, its customers and investors would be set for years of uncertainty.

While utility bankruptcies are rare, they can result in anything from a healthy company to a breakup, with business units sold off like spare parts. For consumers, the fallout likely means higher rates.

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