By Miriam Raftery
Photo: CPUC Chair Michael Peevey
September 17, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) –Thousands of e-mails released this week reveal unethical back-channel communications between PG&E and the California Public Utilities Commission, the agency that is supposed to regular public utilities. The e-mails reveal that PG&E was calling the shots as the public agency investigated PG&E mistakes leading up to the San Bruno gas pipeline explosion, which killed 8 people and destroyed 38 homes.
Now Courage Campaign, a nonprofit public interest citizens group, calls the situation “an outrage.” The group has launched a petition drive to demand accountability and call for replacement of the entire CPUC leadership, as well as a full investigation into commissioner’s actions. Thus far, only a staffer has been let go – but Chairman Michael Peevey, a former PG&E executive, remains at the helm.
The Utility Reform Network, or TURN, had this to say. ““PG&E had a personal shopper in Peevey’s office, helping to pick and chose the judges that suited PG&E best.”
A PG&E staffer actually wrote a letter to a top federal safety official that CPUC president Peevey signed. Other e-mails show that a gas safety conference organized by the CPUC on behalf of the state was actually a “front for PG&E to push its agenda,” the Courage Campaign says. The relationship has been so cozy that in July, one PG&E executive told officials at the CPUC so-called regulatory agency, “I love you.”
Peevey has had inappropriately close ties with other utilities. He’s been wined and dined on two continents by SDG&E, as we have previously reported on East County Magazine. Plus during a CPUC hearing at which former City Attorney Michael Aguirre, speaking as an advocate for ratepayers, asked Peevey if he had held secret meetings with Southern California Edison over the San Onofre settlement, Peevey became peeved--shouting at Aguirre to “shut up” during the public hearing.
Too Much Power Corrupts