David vs. Goliath. Vista’s Mary Hoffman is suing the California Public Utilities Commission in federal court.
  • David vs. Goliath. Vista’s Mary Hoffman is suing the California Public Utilities Commission in federal court.
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The state’s major utilities — San Diego Gas & Electric, Pacific Gas & Electric, and Southern California Edison — realize that renewable energy represents the future. So, in defiance of federal law, these big utilities want to monopolize solar, wind, geothermal, and other renewable energy forms. And like a wrestling referee deliberately ignoring a blatant illegality, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the supposed regulator, is helping the big companies maintain their stranglehold.

Mary Hoffman of Vista is fighting a lonely battle against this juggernaut. Her company, Solutions for Utilities, is suing the commission in federal court in Los Angeles. Her case has survived a motion to dismiss and goes to a jury trial February 5. The suit charges that the commission has undermined the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 that aims to promote the viability of small energy-generating companies and protect them from monopolistic practices.

Today, Hoffman’s company exists only to fight this suit. She formed the company in 2008 to build two solar farms and sell the electricity to Southern California Edison under a 20-year contract. “It soon became apparent that the price that the utilities commission had authorized that Edison would have to pay was a nonstarter. My company would not have made any money for 14 years,” she says. Edison was permitted to charge exorbitant fees, such as for interconnections, “that would make the deal non-doable.”

Her original suit included Edison as a defendant, but that company and a second plaintiff were dropped on technicalities. If she wins, San Diego Gas & Electric, Edison, and Pacific Gas & Electric will be compelled to adopt at least one program compliant with the 1978 act, and the CPUC will have to “compel the regulated utilities to comply with [the 1978 act] by making it truly available for small suppliers,” says Meir Westreich, Hoffman’s Pasadena-based lawyer.

She never built the two solar farms, “and there was no point in trying to build another,” she says. She knew she was up against a rigged system overseen by a corrupt regulatory body.

And that is a key part of her lawsuit. It alludes to the “politically incestuous relationships between regulator and regulated.” The CPUC and Edison “routinely engage in joint and collaborative tasks, functions and decision making, with mobility between respective staffs, that render them generally indistinguishable.”

So true. Hoffman points out that Michael Peevey, president of the CPUC, is the former president of Southern California Edison. (San Diegans will remember Peevey. He was an executive vice president of Edison in the early 1990s, when it tried to take over San Diego Gas & Electric. Peevey was in charge of the raid. He was as effective as General Custer. Edison lost a bundle on the failed takeover attempt — and then promoted Peevey to president, albeit for a short time.)

Foxes guarding the chickens? State commissioners Michael Peevey (top) and Timothy Simon (bottom) enjoy lavish travel paid for by the utilities they’re supposed to monitor.

I have written both columns and blog items this year on the junketeering and posh living — paid for by utilities — of Peevey and another commissioner, Timothy Simon. Hoffman focuses on Peevey, noting that a May 24, 2011, column in the San Francisco Bay Guardian, “The Secret Life of Michael Peevey,” told the sordid story best.

The Guardian article told how Peevey and his wife, a state senator, flew on overseas junkets sponsored by major energy companies. Of course, these companies’ executives had access to Peevey, as well as to Simon on trips that he took. The Utility Reform Network (TURN), a watchdog group, said these trips are “lobbying junkets.” San Diego’s Sempra Energy, parent of San Diego Gas, was represented on a 2010 Peevey junket to Germany.

Pacific Gas & Electric went bankrupt in 2001 and emerged in 2004. As the Guardian pointed out, Peevey bragged that the CPUC, on approving the emergence, required that PG&E create a $30 million Clean Energy Fund. And who became chairman of that fund? Peevey.

Loretta Lynch, former president of the utility commission, questions the commission’s authority to create such a nonprofit venture capital fund. “It is a fundamental distortion of the [commission’s] authority — all in service of Peevey’s ambitions,” she told the Guardian.

I called Lynch. “I think it is absolutely improper for commissioners to be wined and dined and sent on foreign junkets by utility money,” she says. Nor is it proper for a CPUC commissioner to head an organization taking money from companies the commission regulates. A conflict or the appearance of one “undermines the confidence in the integrity of the regulatory body.”

Bill Powers, principal of Powers Engineering, a San Diego–based energy consulting firm, says that Hoffman’s suit “is definitely a David-Goliath type of thing.” Dealing with the commissioners “requires grease and pressure,” and the small energy providers don’t have the financial muscle for this kind of competition. He admires her toughness: “You have to fight at the [CPUC]. If you don’t, the utilities are unfettered.”

Local energy industry consultant Bill Powers says, “The [commission] is institutionally wedded at the hip to the Big Three” — San Diego Gas & Electric, Pacific Gas & Electric, and Edison.

He is fearful that Hoffman’s suit could be a rugged climb. “When it comes to rates and [the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act] and all that, courts are really reticent to get into it. What’s admirable is that someone had the gumption to take this to court. But there is still a long way to go.”

Notes Powers, “The [commission] is institutionally wedded at the hip to the big three [San Diego Gas & Electric, Pacific Gas & Electric, and Edison]. There are some great people at the [commission] — dedicated, idealistic — but until they remove the king dealmaker, King Peevey, the commission will operate as it has operated for the last decade. The utilities will have veto power over who the next president of the [CPUC] will be. [Governor] Jerry Brown is hard to read. The most dramatic statement he could make is appoint a new president of the [commission], but he has left Peevey there.”

Possible good news: Powers and others say that three new Brown-appointed commissioners are fed up and may do something about the Peevey-Simon lovemaking with utilities. ■

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Comments

Badhand Sept. 26, 2012 @ 7:46 a.m.

Sounds like Ms. Hoffman will need funds to bankroll this fight.

Mr. Bauder, do you have any info as to where I can send a donation or two to help her?

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Don Bauder Sept. 26, 2012 @ 12:27 p.m.

You can make a donation through Mary's website, www.solutionsforutilities.com, or you can call her at 760-724-4420. Best, Don Bauder

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dwbat Sept. 26, 2012 @ 8:03 a.m.

Meanwhile, businesses and customers who suffered losses in the September 2011 blackout have still not been compensated. And they probably never will be. The CPUC passed Tariff Rule 14, which according to the SDG&E letter claimants received, stated that "SDG&E isn't liable...if the loss or damage results from causes not within its control." After a followup complaint to CPUC's Consumer Affairs Branch, I received a September 14 2012 letter stating: "Any action to recover such loss may be brought before a court of competent jurisdiction. Therefore, since we lack authority to adjudicate in this matter, we unfortunately cannot assist you with this issue." I wrote back on September 20, asking the CPUC or SDG&E to "provide SDG&E electric customers with the name of the entity (or entities) found to be responsible for the blackout." How can we sue if we don't know who to sue? I really don't expect to get a helpful reply from the awful CPUC.

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Don Bauder Sept. 26, 2012 @ 12:32 p.m.

What does SDGE mean by "court of competent jurisdiction?" A friendly Superior Court judge? Or an administrative law judge of the CPUC? Remember, too, that SDGE wants ratepayers to pick up the tab for the 2007 fires, for which the company has been found negligible. SDGE's parent, Sempra, is enormously profitable and its stock is going gangbusters. But with CPUC commissioners' concurrence, the ratepayers, and not the shareholders, will probably get stuck with this bill. Raise hell. Best, Don Bauder

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dwbat Oct. 1, 2012 @ 6:16 p.m.

Well, it was the Consumer Affairs Branch (CAB) of the CPUC that made that statement (not SDGE). I received a reply from my September 20 letter today (Oct. 1). Once again I got a totally useless reply, signed by a "Ms. Frias." She referred me back to the SDGE website, where I could read that SDGE was not responsible and will not pay claims. Arggggg, she told me information that I already told the CAB. OMG, what nonsensical, snotty, annoying bureaucratic incompetence! Ms. Frias should be fired, and go reside inside a Franz Kafka novel for eternity. Frias suggested I read the [undecipherable!] report on the blackout [http://www.ferc.gov/legal/staff-reports/04-27-2012-ferc-nerc-report.pdf]. In skimming over this report, it doesn't say who we can sue. And the staff who wrote it obviously didn't care about financial losses. I wish I had more hair so I could pull it out!

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ImJustABill Oct. 1, 2012 @ 8:11 a.m.

Ahhh, Rule 14 explains why SDG&E has been so intent with their absurd characterization that all the fault was with one technician in AZ. SDG&E does not want to be liable for the lack of safeguards in their system. SDG&E should have had safeguards in place which would have prevented a single technician's mistake to shut down all of San Diego county for several hours. That's obvious common sense.

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MURPHYJUNK Sept. 26, 2012 @ 9:37 a.m.

CPUC was bought and paid for ( on going pay offs) long ago.

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Don Bauder Sept. 26, 2012 @ 12:34 p.m.

Yes, but Loretta Lynch, quoted in this article, was a pro-consumer head of the CPUC. The commission is bought and paid for now, but Gov. Brown could do something about that. Best, Don Bauder

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tomjohnston Sept. 26, 2012 @ 10:55 a.m.

I don't know if there is a procedure for removing someone from the position of president of the commission without removing them from the commission completely. Perhaps you can look into that. I do know that only the State Legislature can remove a member of the commission from office. It requires a charge of incompetence, neglect of duty, or corruption, and a 2/3 concurrence of the membership of each house. Since both the Senate and the Assembly are in recess until January, nothing will happen until next year. Simon's term is up in February, I believe. Best case scenario is that he will not be reappointed and will simply just fade away into oblivion after this term is up. I would like to point out that a majority of the commissioners constitutes a quorum for the transaction of any business, for the performance of any duty, or for the exercise of any power of the commission, so it would seem that if the three new Brown-appointed commissioners are fed up, they do have the power to do something about the way the CPUC does it's "job". They have all now been in office for at least 18 months, so if they are indeed "fed up", it's time for them to show their true colors. Personally, I have my doubts about Ferron. For my tastes, he spent way to much time in finance and banking, where corruption and back room dealings are an every day way of life. I am impressed my Sandoval, though. She is one of the most highly educated commissioners we've ever had. It doesn't get a lot better than Yale, Oxford and Stanford, although one might question her choice in law firms to practice with. Although she wasn't there at the time, the firm she worked represented SCE and sued the CPUC, getting a settlement in SCE's favor. How's that for irony. I also have concerns about how much influence the Executive Director of the CPUC has. He's been in that position since 2007 but has been at the CPUC for almost 30 years. Too much time in the old boy network for my tastes. Perhaps a change is in the wind in that area also.

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Don Bauder Sept. 26, 2012 @ 12:39 p.m.

Excellent points, Tom. Yes, Simon's term is over early next year. I have talked to some who are hopeful that the three Brown-appointed commissioners could do something about Peevey and Simon, but others are skeptical. What those commissioners need is the public telling them they are fed up with corrupt regulation. Best, Don Bauder

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tomjohnston Sept. 26, 2012 @ 10:02 p.m.

I think you have it backwards, Don. It's the public who needs commissioners who listen, and act, when the public talks to them. The three newest members CAN do something, if they are all on the same page, but thus far they have not yet given any indications that it is anything but business as usual.

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Don Bauder Sept. 27, 2012 @ 6:51 a.m.

You are among the skeptics, Tom, and there are plenty of them. But some people are hopeful that the new Brown appointees will at least limit the blatant pro-utility, anti-consumer bias. Best, Don Bauder

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tomjohnston Sept. 27, 2012 @ 12:26 p.m.

Skeptic? Yeah I guess you could say that. But perhaps I am not making my point salient enough. Florio and Sandoval have held their positions since January of 2011 and Ferron since March of 2011. In my book, they are far from "new Brown appointees"; Twenty months, in my opinion, is quite long enough for them to have realize the extent of the corruption and cronyism that exists. After her confirmation, Sandoval said "I pledge to be diligent in discharging our fundamental responsibility to ensure that utilities under our jurisdiction provide safe, reliable service at just and reasonable rates." and "Part of my goal is to be able to bring the resources and perspective of academia into rule making,". and that she wants to "practice what she calls an evidence-based approach. Because leaning hard on the facts is the best way to make good decisions for the state's future." Also, as I have pointed out, the "new three" constitute a majority and if they are indeed "fed up" as you related in your story, they do have the ability to, for all practical purposes, decide the direction of the CPUC. I have read the Public Utilities Code, Sec 301-307, and fine nothing in them which allows for the President of the CPUC to "get around" a majority vote by the entire commission. So again, as I have said, in my opinion 20 months is more than enough time for the moost recent appointees to show they want a change in direction and yet they have failed to do so. How long would you propose we wait before reaching the conclusion that it's business as usual? Just my opinion. Opinions vary.

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Don Bauder Sept. 27, 2012 @ 6:24 p.m.

You are giving persuasive arguments that the new appointees are NOT turning this corrupt ship around. Others disagree. We both hope the optimists are right, but you may be right. I hope that somebody wakes up on the commission. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Sept. 26, 2012 @ 12:38 p.m.

And that is a key part of her lawsuit. It alludes to the “politically incestuous relationships between regulator and regulated.” The CPUC and Edison “routinely engage in joint and collaborative tasks, functions and decision making, with mobility between respective staffs, that render them generally indistinguishable.”

This is shockig, shocking I tell you!! (rolls eyes :) )

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Don Bauder Sept. 26, 2012 @ 12:47 p.m.

The original comment, "I'm shocked! Shocked!" came from the movie Casablanca, along with "Round up the usual suspects." Supposedly "Play it again, Sam" is credited to that movie but wasn't quite uttered that way. (I didn't see the movie until about the 1990s on KPBS. I'm not much of a movie enthusiast.) Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Sept. 26, 2012 @ 3:29 p.m.

Yes Don, Claude Rains said that to Humphrey Bogart (AKA Rick) when he was forced to shut Rick's Cafe for gambling, as he was given his winnings. I was in fact thinking about the movie when I made the comment, as it is one of the best movies of all time and I have seen it several hundred times, easily. If you had not seen Casablanca prior to 1990 I feel sorry for you-please watch the Turner Classic Movies chanel on Cable, where it is played 3-4 times per year.

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Don Bauder Sept. 26, 2012 @ 7:53 p.m.

OK, I have seen Casablanca only once, but I have listened to Bach's St. Matthew Passion and Goldberg Variations several hundred times. Best, Don Bauder

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nokomisjeff Sept. 28, 2012 @ 12:05 p.m.

I love St. Matthew Passion. Here's something else that is very sublime. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoMOuG...

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Don Bauder Sept. 28, 2012 @ 12:40 p.m.

All of Beethoven's violin sonatas are beautiful. I love the most popular one, the Kreutzer Sonata, the best, but I listen to all of them. We have a box of complete Beethoven CDs. Best, Don Bauder

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jnojr Sept. 26, 2012 @ 1:23 p.m.

But... but... regulation is good! We're always told that the answer to the evil, greedy, corrupt private sector is regulations and regulators! And now that those human regulators have turned out to be fallible, if not corrupt... the answer is more regulation and regulators, paid for by the taxpayer?

Google "fatal conceit".

A truly free market is far more than capable of policing itself. If a given entity is making "too much money", then a competitor WILL step in to scoop up some of those sweet, sweet profits, and prices will come down. In EVERY case where someone screeches, "But the private sector is/does/will screw us!", the fault always lies in government and regulation, not freedom. Why is SDG&E a monopoly? Because government granted it that status. And then we find out that the regulators are just jockeying for jobs with those they're supposed to regulate, and some dopes screech for more regulation? Insanity.

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Don Bauder Sept. 26, 2012 @ 7:59 p.m.

I used to believe that the free market could make regulation unnecessary. But in this century I came to realize I was wrong. The 2008 crisis, which almost deposited us into the abyss, was a result of the free market gone berserk. Few have written as many columns about how corrupt the Securities and Exchange Commission, CPUC, and other regulatory bodies are. Nonetheless, no regulation would be worse. My conclusion: regulation is bad, but no regulation is worse. Best, Don Bauder

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ElectricityUser Sept. 29, 2012 @ 8:12 a.m.

what caused the 2008 financial issues was too much regulation - banks were forced under the CRA to loan money to those that would not and could not pay it back - the Bush administration tried numerous times to regulate that issue but congress blocked it - in particular democrats on the committee -

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SurfPuppy619 Sept. 29, 2012 @ 9:54 a.m.

That's the BIGGEST bunch of bull I ever heard. NO ONE FORCES a bank to lend to anyone, the banks lent the money b/c they KNEW they could dump the bad loans on unsuspecting buyers in the open market as CDO's. THAT is the fact of the matter.

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Don Bauder Sept. 29, 2012 @ 11:37 a.m.

ElectricityUser: Sorry, I have to agree with SurfPup. To say that the 2008 financial crisis was brought on by too much regulation is simply preposterous. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill Sept. 29, 2012 @ 7:09 p.m.

Plenty of blame to go around for both Democrats and Republicans. IMO both parties are more interested in helping Wall St. than helping Main St.

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SurfPuppy619 Sept. 29, 2012 @ 10:48 p.m.

Obama has taken more $$$ from Wall Street than the republicans, and he has not prosecuted a SINGLE person. Jon Corzine (and MF Global) should be in PRISON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Google Bill Black and see his videos....

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Don Bauder Sept. 30, 2012 @ 6:30 a.m.

You are correct, SP: the Obama administration has not prosecuted the crooks whose greed almost drove us into perdition. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Sept. 30, 2012 @ 6:25 a.m.

Now THAT I agree with: both parties are in Wall Street's pocket. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill Sept. 28, 2012 @ 5:53 p.m.

A truly free market only works if most parties accept that system. Clearly most leaders in the banking and securities industries do not believe in true free-market capitalism. If they had then they would have allowed free-market corrections to occur in 2008 and the massive bailouts would never have happened. Investment firms that made unwise decisions would have failed; the stronger ones would have succeeded.

I agree with Ron Paul's description of our present banking system. It's not "free market capitalism" but "crony capitalism".

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Don Bauder Sept. 28, 2012 @ 7:57 p.m.

Yes, it's crony capitalism in the financial industry -- but in many other areas of the economy, too, unfortunately. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Sept. 29, 2012 @ 11:29 a.m.

We desperately need reform of our system. Best, Don Bauder

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Wabbit Sept. 27, 2012 @ 6:22 a.m.

Don, that debacle was not even close to being a "Free" market. It was a market contorted and skewed to support the status quo while pretending to open a free market.

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Don Bauder Sept. 27, 2012 @ 7:03 a.m.

The 2008 debacle was a result of unrestrained greed. The big banks and other financial institutions took huge gambles while regulators looked the other way, did not have the power, and did not have the expertise to analyze bewilderingly complex financial instruments (made that way deliberately.) Tragically, this is still going on. Bank lobbyists have managed to emasculate Dodd-Frank. Greed has not been reined in. It has burgeoned. Income and wealth inequality has escalated. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Sept. 28, 2012 @ 12:42 p.m.

Uh. Greed is definitely good for Wall Street. But let's to back to Beethoven violin sonatas. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Sept. 29, 2012 @ 10:04 a.m.

I agree that greed can be good when it is done in a market that is not fixed. We don't have anything CLOSE to that now...........

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Don Bauder Sept. 29, 2012 @ 11:33 a.m.

You are right, SP. I wish the theoreticians at the University of Chicago and the followers of Hayek understood this. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill Sept. 29, 2012 @ 5:52 p.m.

The way I look at it...

Greed is USUALLY good - but sometimes regulations and laws are needed to make sure that greed is good. Examples: In a competetive marketplace greed fosters innovation, efficiency, and improvement. In a monopoly greed enables inefficiency and poor service with high prices. So sometimes IMO you need regulations and laws to kick in and prevent monopolies. Another big example are financial systems. In a mostly free but properly regulated financial system greed encourages investors to reward successful ideas and companies. In a poorly regulated financial system, greed gives you 2008.

So I think greed is good...as long as the right rules are in place.

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Don Bauder Sept. 30, 2012 @ 7:06 a.m.

There is a relationship between greed and innovation, but I do not think it is as close as you do. Steve Jobs, for example, had an inner creative drive and marketing sense; I don't think greed played a huge role in his motivations. The same is true of many other inventors and innovators in the tech field. On Wall Street, innovation -- as exemplified by complex derivatives -- resulted ALMOST ENTIRELY from greed. From a societal standpoint, those innovations were destructive, and still are. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill Sept. 30, 2012 @ 6:02 p.m.

"The last great financial innovation was the ATM machine" - Volker (I think).

I would have to agree with that statement. Moreover, I think the increasingly complex financial "innovations" have been a disaster for most of the economy - all while making a ton of money for a small number of people in the financial industry.

I was thinking about this today and I have a new theory. Granted, I don't understand this stuff very well but there is something that doesn't seem right to me. It's the idea that the innovative financial instruments improve the efficiency of the marketplace. In theory, at least as explained as proponents of these instruments, the more ways there are to invest and shift money around the better. But I think the opposite has happened. Rather than the complex instruments enabling a truly efficient marketplace - where market prices for everything always reflect their true equilibrium value - the complex instruments mainly serve to add instability and bubbles. This seems to be the case in recent years.

Then something hit me which really convinced me that the new innovations don't improve marketplace efficiency: An efficient market is bad for the financial sectore. In truly efficient market, it would be very difficult to make a lot of money trading. But has this happened in recent years? No, salaries on Wall Street have risen in proportion to the general public. This means it takes more money to run the market which means it's less efficient. Wall Street does not want an efficient market, as this would reduce the ammount of money they make.

Wall Street bankers pushing "innovative financial products" as a way to improve market efficiency is like the foxes pushing to leave the henhouse unlocked as a way to improve chicken safety.

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SurfPuppy619 Sept. 30, 2012 @ 7:40 p.m.

I would have to agree with that statement. Moreover, I think the increasingly complex financial "innovations" have been a disaster for most of the economy - all while making a ton of money for a small number of people in the financial industry.

Don, you coined a phrase about complex financing be done for the sole purpose of fraud-I forgot how you phrased it though........

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Don Bauder Sept. 30, 2012 @ 8:35 p.m.

Possibly the statement I made that you are seeking, SP, is this truism that I propounded: "The essence of white collar fraud is contrived complexity." It perfectly describes most derivatives. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Sept. 30, 2012 @ 8:32 p.m.

A great economist, Henry Kaufman, wrote and spoke eloquently on the damage that the innovative products were doing to the market. The bewilderingly complex derivatives are a classic example of three pods and one pea. High frequency trading is deleterious because those players get information before the market does. This permits front-running, and those doing it should be punished. The Securities and Exchange Commission is only dipping a toe in. This is blatant market rigging and the participants should be punished civilly and criminally. Best, Don Bauder

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tomjohnston Sept. 30, 2012 @ 9:14 p.m.

I don't think Volker said it was the last great invention, I think he said it was the most important financial invention he had seen. I read it in the WSJ, but I'm just too lazy at this point to look it up.

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Don Bauder Oct. 1, 2012 @ 7:19 a.m.

In any case, I doubt Volcker said that complex derivatives were a great financial innovation. He knows they are poison. Best, Don Bauder

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tomjohnston Oct. 2, 2012 @ 10:04 a.m.

Agreed: “I wish someone would give me one shred of neutral evidence that financial innovation has led to economic growth — one shred of evidence.”

-Paul Volcker, Former Federal Reserve Chairman

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Susan B Sept. 27, 2012 @ 11:19 a.m.

After dealing with the CPUC directly as a Party to their proceedings related to the smart meter opt-out and smart grid, I am in complete agreement with Ms. Hoffman about the greed and corruption openly displayed at CPUC, with full approval by Governor Brown and the state legislature. All of them are, in my opinion, in on the corruption, and all must GO. I am NOT impressed with the three newest commissioners, as they have definitely shown that they are keeping the status quo because it benefits them. I have seen one video of a CPUC public meeting where people were testifying about the atrocities perpetrated on them by the smart meter installations, people were sick, homeless, crying (literally) and Commissioner Sandoval sat there like a much older, heavier Marie Antoinette, stuffing her face with food during the meeting and not even caring a whit about what was said. Education means nothing if you act like that. She hasn't said a single word in defense of the public that I have heard of, the whole time she's been there. Same for the others. No good, just taking advantage of the corrupted system. Who needs people like that as commissioners? We need outspoken people who care about the public, not themselves. We need people who have never had any conflicts of interest. The staff at CPUC, including the administrators and judges, are straight out of the utility companies and it sure shows in all their rigged proceedings. The public is being harmed and the security of our nation and its electrical grid put at grave risk by their actions. The Governor must be held accountable for his poor selections and for not requiring integrity on this despicably corrupted state agency. If we tolerate that, we are no better than any corrupted country like the old Russia or France, before the Revolution. Director, Center for Electrosmog Prevention www.electrosmogprevention.org

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Don Bauder Sept. 27, 2012 @ 11:45 a.m.

The CPUC has a Division of Ratepayer Advocates that tries to represent the interests of consumers. The people in that division are dedicated. But the current commission doesn't listen to ratepayer advocates. It listens to Wall Street. Best, Don Bauder

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ElectricityUser Sept. 29, 2012 @ 8:09 a.m.

“It soon became apparent that the price that the utilities commission had authorized that Edison would have to pay was a nonstarter. My company would not have made any money for 14 years,” she says."

little problem with that - they already pay the highest amount on any market for solar - and she gets ratepayer and taxpayer subsidies equaling close to 50% of her investment -

sounds like her issue is not the PUC but her business plan -

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Don Bauder Sept. 29, 2012 @ 9:37 a.m.

The CPUC will probably use an argument similar to that in its defense. The court will have to find if this angle has validity. Best, Don Bauder

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cahoosier Sept. 29, 2012 @ 6:09 p.m.

This explains so much. I've always wondered about so many of our so-called watch dogroups and regulatory commissions. It seemed they only added to costs of doing business but did not do much of anything to stop the negative impact on the environment. Ex: increasing # homes allowed per acre, building in wetlands or flood zones,... I've seen small businesses leave because of the myriad of regulations and costs. As one commented, he didn't have the capital to play with the big boys.

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Don Bauder Sept. 30, 2012 @ 7:10 a.m.

As I have stated, regulation can be very bad. But no regulation is worse. Laissez faire doesn't work, and is actually destructive, and the 2008 debacle proves it. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Oct. 2, 2012 @ 10:05 p.m.

Follow the money. Follow the MONEY. FOLLOW THE MONEY!

The more the owlhoots get away with their shenanigans, the more arrogant they become.

This woman should not have to sue. Do we need legislation (a grass-roots initiative petition) to stop such criminal acts, or is existing law up to the job. If so, where is the will within the Attorney General's office to enforce it?

PS: By the way, there used to be a function where we could send you a message using our handle instead of our real name. I couldn't figure out how to do it this time. Is this feature no longer available, or is it just my defective memory?

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Don Bauder Oct. 6, 2012 @ 10:19 a.m.

I agree: follow the money. You will find sticky-fingered sociopaths at the end of the trail. As to your tech problems, go to systems@sdreader.com. Best, Don Bauder

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Twister Nov. 14, 2012 @ 4:14 p.m.

Is the Sherman Anti-Trust Act still law? If not, when was it killed? If so, why is it no longer enforced?

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Twister Nov. 14, 2012 @ 4:17 p.m.

Don, please keep us up-to-date on this.

BTW, who's minding the store with respect to districts and other quasi- and pseudo-governmental entities like the Port Authority that answer to no one?

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