Over a period of several years, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) cozied up to its buddies at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which cares about utility profits, but not about ratepayer fairness. SDG&E wanted its ratepayers to pick up uninsured costs for the damage it caused in the 2007 fires. A division of the CPUC had pointed the finger at SDG&E for negligence in those fires.
San Diego attorney Mike Aguirre took up the cause for San Diego ratepayers. He battled with pro-utility administrative law judges. He was able to block SDG&E's disingenuous attempt to misrepresent the mission: the utility kept insisting it only wanted indemnification for future fires, but as the fine print revealed, it really wanted coverage for the 2007 fires, for which it was found responsible.
Also, Southern California Edison (SCE), Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), and SDG&E claimed there was an insurance crisis. Aguirre showed there was no such crisis. SCE and PG&E, realizing the truth, backed down, leaving SDG&E standing there naked. After Aguirre caught SDG&E in these ruses, the CPUC reluctantly sided with Aguirre, saving San Diego ratepayers millions of dollars.
Today (March 6), the CPUC got its revenge. Aguirre had asked for $224,545 as costs of his work on the case, called intervenor fees. So, the CPUC today refused to give Aguirre one penny. The chief administrative law judge claimed that Aguirre did not make "a substantial contribution to the decision."
The truth is exactly the reverse of that. I watched that case from the beginning. The CPUC administrative judge said Aguirre was "obstructive, rather than helpful." That is the key. The CPUC wants intervenors to play ball, to give it deference, reverence. It deserves nothing of the sort.
I doubt if this is over.