Tag Archives: PG&E

See How A Huge Utility Stonewalled Regulators After Its Fatal Pipeline Disaster

by Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times

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

[PG&E’s] safety performance, which long ranked toward the bottom of the utility industry, has gotten worse. … This is a company that not only provides all utility service to almost everyone in Northern California but manages California’s only operational nuclear power plant. If PG&E staff couldn’t find it in themselves to act like grownups when its policies had caused the death of eight people and the destruction of an entire neighborhood, is there anything that would make them straighten up and fly right? Read More ›

Five Years After Deadly San Bruno Explosion: Are We Safer?

by Rebecca Bowe and Lisa Pickoff-White, KQED

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

The explosion and fire killed eight people and injured 58 while destroying 38 homes and damaging 70 others. The community is still recovering from the trauma. … “Really the most shocking part of this is the extent to which the [CPUC] was complicit in the negligence that led to the disaster here in San Bruno,” says San Bruno City Manager Connie Jackson. “You had the leadership of the California Public Utilities Commission essentially in bed with the utility. Dining, drinking, vacationing — and making deals behind the scenes. Californians should be vitally concerned … ” Read More ›

PUC Launches PG&E Probe As Agency Fails To Comply With Search Warrant

by Ivan Penn, Los Angeles Times

One percenters enjoy fine wine.

Meanwhile, the commission – beset by criticism that its officials have a too-cozy relationship with the utilities they regulate – failed to respond to a search warrant for records related [to] the California attorney general’s investigation of agency operations. A court document filed Aug. 7 states that “after multiple requests, and two months after the search warrant was served on CPUC, no records have been produced.” … The attorney general is investigating secret talks between the commission and Southern California Edison, the state’s second largest investor-owned utility. Read More ›

State To Probe Peevey Party Proceeds

by Jeff McDonald, San Diego Union-Tribune

CPUC headquarters

The soiree honored former California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey, and funds were raised in the name of his successor, Michael Picker. The $250-a-plate event was held at the Julia Morgan Ballroom in San Francisco as consumer activists protested outside. Read More ›

Committee Seeks San Onofre Emails Again

by Jeff McDonald, San Diego Union-Tribune

San Onofre nuclear plant

The chairman of the Assembly committee that oversees the California Public Utilities Commission has given the agency until the end of this month to secure and turn over certain emails and other documents from Southern California Edison. Chairman Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, is asking Commission President Michael Picker to use his authority to demand that Edison provide internal and external emails about the failed San Onofre nuclear plant north of Oceanside. … [The] plant has become a key subject in criminal investigations of the state utilities commission. Much of the scrutiny revolves around private communications between regulators and utility executives. Read More ›

Regulator Went To Power Event In Napa

by Jeff McDonald, San Diego Union-Tribune

One percenters enjoy fine wine.

“To my knowledge, the Western Power Trading Forum is one big opportunity to have an illegal ex parte with any commissioner that the group can convince to come and talk to them,” said former commission President Loretta Lynch, now an attorney in private practice. “In some of the most luxurious settings, groups like WPTF wine and dine commissioners while engaging in private, backroom conversations concerning issues directly in front of the PUC. … All Californians should question whether PUC proceedings are appropriately decided, and we should all ask our legislators and the governor to stop this corrupting practice.” Read More ›

2 New Warrants Served In CPUC Case

by Jeff McDonald, San Diego Union-Tribune

CPUC shield

The criminal investigation of the California Public Utilities Commission appears to be intensifying, with state agents serving a fresh round of search warrants at the regulators’ headquarters in San Francisco and at Southern California Edison offices outside Los Angeles. The Attorney General’s Office wants details about a settlement agreement that assigned Southern California ratepayers to cover $3.3 billion in shutdown costs for the San Onofre nuclear plant, which closed on an emergency basis in January 2012 after Edison installed faulty replacement steam generators that caused a radiation leak. Read More ›

California Electricity Rates To Undergo Biggest Change In 15 Years

by David R. Baker and Hamed Aleaziz, The San Francisco Chronicle

California regulators radically revamped the way electricity rates work in the state, approving changes Friday that will raise monthly utility bills for the most energy-efficient homeowners while giving many bigger energy users a break. … “This is a lose-lose for customers, but business as usual for the CPUC, which has once again done PG&E, Edison and SDG&E’s bidding,” [said Mark Toney, head of The Utility Reform Network, a consumer group. … Changing the number of tiers and cutting the difference between them will raise bills for the most energy-efficient households. Read More ›

Former Top CPUC Director “Disgusted” By Behavior Of Leadership

by Tony Kovaleski, Liz Wagner and Mark Villarreal, NBC Bay Area

A former high ranking member of the California Public Utilities Commission spoke out for the first time since retiring from the agency last fall. In an exclusive interview with the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit, he called the actions of some of the CPUC’s former leaders “disgusting.” For more than a decade Richard Clark held one of the agency’s most critical positions as Director of Consumer Protection in the Safety Division. He said his decisions to draw an ethical line with Pacific Gas & Electric Company contradicted a culture of improper access and influence. Read More ›

Report Calls For CPUC Reforms

by Jeff McDonald, San Diego Union-Tribune

CPUC shield

The California Public Utilities Commission for years has based multibillion-dollar decisions not on public debate or evidentiary records but rather on secret meetings and influences by the companies it regulates, an independent report has found. … Consumer advocates said the Strumwasser & Woocher report highlighted the need for legislative reform of commission practices. “Backdoor deals have completely corrupted the commission’s process,” said Thomas Long, senior attorney at The Utility Reform Network. “In private meetings that have become the norm at the commission, utility claims go unchallenged.” Read More ›

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