Tag Archives: The Utility Reform Network

PG&E, In Deal With Consumer Groups, Asks For Smaller Rate Hikes

by David R. Baker, San Francisco Chronicle

If state regulators approve, PG&E’s average monthly bill for residential customers will rise 50 cents in 2017. The utility initially proposed a monthly increase of $4. Read More ›

PG&E Customers Face Triple Whammy In Gas And Electric Bills

by George Avalos, East Bay Times

Before Monday’s hike, total monthly bills for residential customers averaged $145.36. Once all the approved and proposed increases are in effect, monthly power bills could jump to $158.21. Read More ›

Edison Fined $16.7 Million For ‘Secret’ San Onofre Chats

by Teri Sforza, Orange County Register

“The CPUC could have thrown the book at Edison, with maximum penalties of $41.75 million, which would have sent a much stronger message than a paltry $16.74 million,” said Mindy Spatt, spokeswoman for The Utility Reform Network, a consumer group that has pulled out of the San Onofre settlement agreement. “Edison may be left with the impression that the CPUC doesn’t take their violations of the ex-parte rules all that seriously. This money will go to the state general fund, not customers, who would be best served by the commission reopening the case and returning more money to customers,” Spatt said. Read More ›

PG&E Could Face Steep Fines For Banned Exchanges With Regulators

by Rebecca Bowe, KQED

One percenters enjoy fine wine.

[One case concerned a CPUC] decision to award millions to PG&E as a reward for satisfying energy-efficiency goals, even though consumer advocates argued that the company hadn’t successfully hit the targets. … PG&E started to face major public scrutiny for its cozy ties to utility regulators after a trove of emails were released in court proceedings initiated by the city of San Bruno in the wake of the deadly 2010 pipeline explosion. … “We’ve said again and again that the rules are much too lax,” [said Mindy Spatt, a spokeswoman for The Utility Reform Network (TURN)]. “We and our allies will be pushing for the maximum penalty.” Read More ›

CPUC Reform Veto Vexes Brown Backers

by Jeff McDonald, San Diego Union-Tribune

One percenters enjoy fine wine.

Richard Holober, executive director of the Consumer Federation of California, has praised Brown in the past for action on privacy, food safety, credit reports and residential care facilities for the elderly. Holober is not happy with the vetoes of CPUC bills. “Until we saw the vetoes, we were keeping our fingers crossed that he would make the Governor’s Office part of the solution,” Holober said. “Now we are really scratching our heads. The loss of public trust, the scandalous collusion is troubling.” Read More ›

Judge Consulted Edison On San Onofre Deal

by Jeff McDonald, San Diego Union-Tribune

The utilities commission is unique among state agencies in that it employs judges who serve as arbiters, even when people have a beef with the agency itself. Members of the public cannot take action in Superior Court to challenge a utilities commission decision, but must appear before a commission employee. … The commission tasked an outside attorney to review its record on such private dealings, and the firm in June reported that violations are common and tilt the process in favor of utility companies. Legislators passed a slate of reform bills, which were vetoed earlier this month by Gov. Jerry Brown, who said they contained conflicting provisions that made them unworkable. Read More ›

State Consumer Advocate To Pull Out Of San Onofre Nuclear Plant Settlement

by Ivan Penn, Los Angeles Times

A multibillion-dollar settlement over the closed San Onofre nuclear power plant took another blow Monday as the state consumer advocate said that he was withdrawing from the deal and would urge regulators to reopen the case. Joe Como … said Monday that he was “very disappointed” by a judge’s ruling Aug. 5 that Edison failed to report communication with regulators about a settlement. Como added that the judge did not go far enough and wrote an opinion that still gives too much latitude for utilities to communicate with regulators outside public view. Read More ›

AB 925 Dies: Secret Recording Of Business-Customer Cell Phone Calls Remains A Crime

Business spying on customer phone calls

Democrats on the Assembly Committee on Public Safety approved AB 925 on a 5-2 party line vote after strenuous opposition from CFC and other consumer, privacy, senior, student, labor and immigrant advocacy groups weakened the bill. Amendments were not yet in print but reportedly would require notification to customers that a call may be recorded 20 seconds into a cell phone conversation, so it remains a bad bill. 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 ›

CPUC Commissioner Tied To E-Mail Saying He’d Help PG&E

by Jaxon Van Derbeken, San Francisco Chronicle

CPUC headquarters

Until now, [CPUC Commissioner Mike] Florio has escaped repercussions from the interactions, with much of the focus on outgoing commission President Michael Peevey, whose chief of staff had promised to help company executives who were trying to get a judge of their choice in a key gas rate case arising from the San Bruno explosion that killed eight people and injured nearly 60. … “This shows this is the tip of the iceberg,” said Britt Strottman, attorney for the city. “We now know there are more e-mails out there that PG&E should have disclosed in the first place.” Read More ›

PG&E Got $29 Million In ‘Corrupt Deal’ With State, Group Says

by Jaxon Van Derbeken, San Francisco Chronicle

CPUC headquarters

A ratepayer group demanded Wednesday that the California Public Utilities Commission undo a $29 million profit boost for Pacific Gas and Electric Co. that the commission approved after its president reportedly solicited the utility’s help in defeating a state ballot measure. “We have got compelling evidence of a corrupt deal between PG&E and President Michael Peevey,” said Tom Long, attorney for The Utility Reform Network. Read More ›

PG&E’s Judge Shopping Outrages State PUC Employees

by Jaxon Van Derbeken, San Francisco Chronicle

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

Staff expressed outrage at PUC officials’ promises to help PG&E get the administrative law judge (ALJ) it wanted to hear a rate case that will decide how post-San Bruno explosion costs will be divided between customers and shareholders. PG&E is seeking to have its customers pay nearly $1.3 billion for pipeline improvements following the 2010 blast that killed eight people and leveled 38 homes. PUC President Peevey’s chief of staff resigned and three PG&E executives were fired over what the commission called “inappropriate” back-channel communications to pick an ALJ for the rate case. Read More ›

Shakeup at PG&E, State Agency over ‘Inappropriate’ Talks

by Jaxon Van Derbeken, San Francisco Chronicle

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

A string of e-mails shows PG&E influenced the selection of an administrative law judge (ALJ) to decide how much of a burden customers should bear for billions of dollars of gas-pipeline improvements after the September 2010 San Bruno explosion that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes. CPUC President Michael Peevey has asked his chief of staff to resign, and he said he would not take part in any commission vote on how much PG&E should be penalized for the blast. PG&E plans to appeal the $1.4 billion penalty, and an appeal would likely come before the commission. Read More ›

1 2