10 Emails That Detail PG&E’s Cozy Relationship With Regulators
by Rebecca Bowe & Lisa Pickoff-White, KQED
In the years since the September 2010 natural gas pipeline explosion that killed eight people in San Bruno, the relationship between pipeline operator Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and high-ranking officials at the California Public Utilities Commission has come under intense scrutiny, undermining public trust in the state agency tasked with ensuring safe pipeline operations.
State prosecutors and a federal grand jury are currently zeroing in on alleged improper ties between PG&E and top state regulators. State investigators acting on a search warrant earlier this year seized iPhones, a laptop and bank statements from the residence of former CPUC President Michael Peevey and took similar items from the home of PG&E’s former Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Brian Cherry, all on suspicion of felony activity relating to a judge-shopping scandal brought to light by email records.
Those exchanges were made public in the wake of civil litigation brought on behalf of San Bruno, when a judge ordered PG&E to release records consisting of some 65,000 emails and 123,000 documents.
KQED has taken a detailed look into this correspondence, which reveals in granular detail the familiar relationships between key decision-makers and PG&E executives that lasted well beyond the San Bruno incident.