Tag Archives: CPUC

Lawsuit Contests CPUC Lawyer Hiring

by Jeff McDonald, UT-San Diego

Sempra's San Onofre nuclear plant

[Plaintiffs attorney:] “They are misusing public funds by hiring lawyers — very expensive lawyers — to hide public records that relate to the misuse of ratepayer funds.” … According to [CPUC President Michael] Picker, the commission is facing at least three separate criminal investigations — two by the California Attorney General’s office and one by the U.S. Department of Justice. … Investigators are looking into alleged favoritism by [ex-CPUC President Michael] Peevey and others after a deadly 2010 pipeline explosion in San Bruno and the 2012 failure of the San Onofre nuclear power plant. Read More ›

Legislators Pressure CPUC Officials Over PG&E E-Mails

by Jaxon Van Derbeken, San Francisco Chronicle

CPUC headquarters

Committee Chairman Sen. Ben Hueso, D-Logan Heights (San Diego County), told [Commission President Michael Picker] that some of the 65,000 e-mails between commission officials and PG&E that were recently released as part of a court case show that the regulatory process appears “extremely skewed” toward the utility. The e-mails have shown utilities commission officials working to name an administrative law judge whom PG&E preferred to a rate-setting case, and a PG&E executive trying to leverage the former commission president’s interest in a coal-gasification project into favorable treatment for the firm. Read More ›

CPUC Boss Equated Safety Advocate With Mass Murderer

PG&E pipeline ignites an explosion in San Bruno 9/10/2010.

Days after the 2010 PG&E gas explosion that killed eight, hospitalized many more and leveled 38 San Bruno homes, the Executive Director of the California Public Utilities Commission emailed a vice president at the company, equating pipeline safety advocate Mark Toney with an infamous mass murder. Perhaps … Read More ›

PUC Emails Appear To Show Former Chief Michael Peevey Overstepping His Role

by Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times

CPUC headquarters

Mark Toney, executive director of the Utility Reform Group, estimated that the email banter and “backroom deals” have cost PG&E ratepayers millions if not billions of dollars, because they may have prejudiced legal decisions, including rate setting. “A regulator is supposed to have an arms-length relationship with the utility,” the ratepayer advocate said, “not an embracing relationship.” Read More ›

PG&E Wields “Pervasive” Influence At PUC, Now Described As A “Rogue Agency”

by George Avalos and Josh Richman, Contra Costa Times

PG&E pipeline ignites an explosion in San Bruno 9/10/2010.

“It’s almost as if PG&E was a Rasputin, or a Svengali, with the magic power to get the PUC to do what PG&E wanted,” said state Sen. Jerry Hill, whose San Mateo County district includes San Bruno [where a natural gas blast in September 2010 killed eight people and destroyed a neighborhood]. … The PUC remains under intense scrutiny because skeptics believe Peevey created and then nurtured a culture of cozy relations with San Francisco-based PG&E and other utility giants in California. Read More ›

Agents Search Michael Peevey’s Home In PG&E Judge-Shopping Case

by Jaxon Van Derbeken, San Francisco Chronicle

CPUC headquarters

The search warrant covering [former California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey and former PG&E executive Brian Cherry’s] homes said investigators were looking for evidence of improper “ex parte communications, judge-shopping, bribery, obstruction of justice or due administration of laws, favors or preferential treatment” related to matters coming before the utilities commission from December 2009 on. Read More ›

SB 215 Sustains Drive For CPUC Reforms Originally Sought Via SB 660

1/27/15 update: The Senate passed SB 215 (Leno) 37-0 yesterday, sending the CPUC reform bill to the Assembly. The bill includes limits on “ex parte” (private) communications that CFC had sought in SB 660, which had passed both the Senate and Assembly last fall but was vetoed by Governor … Read More ›

New CPUC President Promises Reform

by Jeff McDonald, San Diego Union-Tribune

CPUC headquarters

The new president of the California Public Utilities Commission issued a public pledge on Thursday to repair damage done by his predecessor, Michael Peevey. Michael Picker, the former political consultant who was named commission president last month, read a lengthy statement at the outset of the first meeting of the year, promising to improve state oversight of California utilities. … “We have a lot to do,” Picker concluded, “so let’s giddy-up and go.” Read More ›

Who Should Inspect Lyft, Uber Cars?

by Carolyn Said, San Francisco Chronicle

uber lyft sidecar vehicle

Vehicle inspections have long been a bone of contention for critics of the ride-hailing services, who contend that regulations are too lax. … Several driver-mentors who do inspections for Lyft said that they received only minimal training, consisting of text and videos on their phones, and that the inspections were largely cosmetic. … Inspections for taxis are more extensive, underscoring the industry’s assertion that it doesn’t operate on a level playing ground. Read More ›

PUC Leader Critical Of San Bruno Officials, Email Shows

by Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times

PG&E pipeline ignites an explosion in San Bruno 9/10/2010.

In what critics described as a growing scandal, federal and state law enforcement agencies have launched investigations into the allegedly improper memos and the relationship between [PG&E] and regulators. The U.S. attorney in San Francisco has filed criminal charges against the utility related to the San Bruno explosion. … The messages, the company said, could reflect improper communications with state regulators. Read More ›

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