The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has abruptly fired a lawyer who was pressing Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to reveal which pipelines it had tested for high pressure, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, as reported by SFGate.
The fired lawyer, Robert Cagen, was one of the leading attorneys in the commission's regulatory case against PG&E as a result of the 2010 gas pipeline explosion that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes in San Bruno.
Cagen was fired one day after the CPUC's legal staff backed away from Cagen's efforts to make PG&E account for which lines it tested with high-pressure water before the 2010 explosion. Cagen had protested the staff decision. He had handled regulatory matters for the commission for 35 years.
According to SFGate, critics said Cagen's firing "was the latest evidence that the commission is overly cozy with the utility it regulates." San Bruno city manager Connie Jackson said, "Bob Cagen is a dedicated public servant who we believe held the public interest in safety as a highest priority…. This is absolutely ridiculous."
The commission's decision to fire its own lawyer and snuggle up to a utility is consistent with its treatment of San Diego: attempting to get ratepayers to pay for damage caused by San Diego Gas & Electric in the 2007 fires, and pay for parts of the closing of San Onofre, which resulted from management blunders.
QUESTION: WHEN WILL GOVERNOR BROWN MOVE TO CLEAN UP THE CORRUPT CPUC?