PG&E Wields “Pervasive” Influence At PUC, Now Described As A “Rogue Agency”
by George Avalos and Josh Richman, Contra Costa Times
What’s being described as the “pervasive” influence of PG&E with the state Public Utilities Commission extended well beyond disgraced former PUC President Michael Peevey and included other commissioners and top PUC staffers.
That’s the conclusion of Bay Area political leaders, state legislators and a former PUC official who have reviewed a sampling of the 65,000 emails released by PG&E late Friday.
The tone of the emails stunned even longtime critics, who were mortified to see that PUC and PG&E officials were joking about gas pipeline safety just weeks after a natural gas blast in September 2010 killed eight people and destroyed a San Bruno neighborhood. Investigators concluded that PG&E’s shoddy maintenance and flawed record-keeping, along with lax oversight by the PUC, were the key factors behind the explosion.
“The PUC is now a rogue agency,” Loretta Lynch, a former PUC commission president, said Saturday. “All the checks and balances that existed at the PUC have been corrupted. Peevey led that corruption.”