San Bruno Says PG&E Too Cozy With CPUC’s Mike Florio

by Jaxon Van Derbeken, San Francisco Chronicle

PG&E pipeline ignites an explosion in San Bruno 9/10/2010.Pacific Gas and Electric Co. should be punished for improper back-channel communications with a California Public Utilities Commission member that amounted to a campaign of “constant courting,” San Bruno city attorneys argue in a legal motion filed with the regulatory agency.

More than five years after its gas pipeline exploded in San Bruno, killing eight people, “PG&E still believes that it is above the law and need not play by the rules,” attorneys for the city said in the document submitted to the agency late Tuesday.

Newly released documents show that PG&E executives had meetings, e-mail exchanges and other communications with utilities commission member Mike Florio that were conducted without public notice. The regulatory agency bans most such communications, and for those it does allow, requires the utilities to summarize what was said.

PG&E “has unfettered access to Commissioner Florio” and failed to report many backdoor contacts, the city said.

Florio issued a statement Wednesday disputing the city’s assertion that he was “familiar, collegial and cozy” with PG&E or any other utility.

“Even a cursory review of my record reveals I have consistently acted independently in representing the public,” Florio said. “San Bruno’s attack is merely the latest in a series of allegations based on gossip and soundbites.

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