Walter Mencken 9 a.m., Oct. 1
Peevey, supposed to be neutral, pushed secretly for Pio Pico
CPUC head requested another agency to write a letter to help SDGE
Tomorrow (Feb. 28), the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) votes on whether to permit San Diego Gas & Electric to push ahead with three gas-fired power plants. The most important is Pio Pico in the Otay area. But, it is very clear from evidence, one person who is supposed to be an impartial adjudicator in the decision, Michael Peevey, head of the CPUC, has been secretly pushing for it. San Diego attorney Todd Cardiff, through a document request, learned that Peevey contacted Robert Weissenmiller, head of the California Energy Commission, urging Weissenmiller to write a letter in support of Pio Pico. On December 6, Weissenmiller wrote a letter to a colleague saying "Peevey wants a letter from me" to push Pio Pico while San Onofre is out of commission. The same day, one Kevin Barker said in an email "Bob [Weissenmiller] was asked today to support Pio Pico...."
Cardiff wants Peevey to recuse himself from tomorrow's vote. Says Cardiff, "We find it absolutely outrageous that the president of the CPUC, who is supposed to be sitting in a quasi-judicial manner over the project approvals, has clandestinely requested another agency file a letter in support of the project. This is a very serious violation of due process and brings into question the very integrity of the CPUC board." Cardiff adds, "Peevey's actions were designed to have the maximum influence on not only the public, but on fellow commissioners, because they wouldn't know the source of the letter."
Earlier, I had a blog item showing that CPUC Commissioner Carla Peterman had been a lead author of a report showing that Pio Pico was necessary. Initially, she said she should not vote in the matter because of an obvious conflict. But then she changed her position because of "evolving legal advice."
Cardiff wants both Peevey and Peterman to recuse themselves. I would go further, and stress this is my opinion, not Cardiff's. There is plenty of evidence, revealed many times in the Reader, showing that Peevey should be removed from the CPUC by Governor Brown. Peterman, a new appointee, has time to change her ways. The public is increasingly aware of the CPUC's pro-utility, anti-consumer bias, and deeply inculcated corruption.