First Audit In 20 Years Finds A Lot Wrong With The Agency That Regulates Your Utilities

by Jeff MCDonald, San Diego Union-Tribune

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Major reforms may be coming to the California Public Utilities Commission, but the agency still has plenty of room for improvement, auditors said Wednesday.

State utility regulators signed contracts with private law firms that they were not permitted to execute, failed to maintain required paperwork and paid vendors even when work was not performed to specifications, an independent audit by the California Department of General Services found.

The California Public Utilities Commission also did not process contracts in a timely manner and neglected to properly account for gasoline cards used by its employees, among other deficiencies, auditors said.

“CPUC’s delegated purchasing practices are not sufficient to provide reasonable assurance of compliance with the state’s procurement statutes, policies and procedures,” the report states.

The General Services review is supposed to be conducted every three years, but the audit released Wednesday is the first such examination in more than 20 years.

Officials did not explain why General Services failed to conduct legally required audits before. They also did not respond to questions about why the report was completed in September and withheld from public disclosure for nine months.

The findings were released two days after Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers announced a series of reforms aimed at improving practices at the commission, which has been under criminal investigation for two years.

Continue reading and find a link to the audit itself on the San Diego Union-Tribune website »

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