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Quite the grand larceny, if proven true

Suit says CA public utilities commission violated 5th Amendment

Last evening (November 13), attorneys Mike Aguirre and Maria Severson filed a suit in federal court saying that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and Southern California Edison took 17.4 million ratepayers' property (money) by charging them $3.7 billion for electricity while the San Onofre nuclear plant was shut down, beginning in early 2012.

The theory is that the regulatory body and Edison were taking customers' private property without just compensation. That is banned by the Fifth Amendment.

Also named in the suit are Michael Peevey, president of the commission, and Mike Florio, one of the commissioners.

The only way that the California Public Utilities Commission could force customers to pay for failed generators at San Onofre would have been to show that Edison acted reasonably in obtaining the generators, according to the suit.

However, Edison deployed the steam generators without a safety license amendment from the Nuclear Regulator Commission. The decision came from the top of Edison, says the suit. Edison has admitted there were design errors causing steam generators to fail. A nuclear scientist was hired to do a study, but when he reported there had been errors, the CPUC obstructed his investigation, thus thwarting any determination of whether Edison was responsible for the failure, according to the suit, which notes that Peevey is a former president of Edison.

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) owns 20 percent of the now-shuttered San Onofre, but is not named in the suit because it had opposed Edison's plans for replacing the old steam generators with four new ones.

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Last evening (November 13), attorneys Mike Aguirre and Maria Severson filed a suit in federal court saying that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and Southern California Edison took 17.4 million ratepayers' property (money) by charging them $3.7 billion for electricity while the San Onofre nuclear plant was shut down, beginning in early 2012.

The theory is that the regulatory body and Edison were taking customers' private property without just compensation. That is banned by the Fifth Amendment.

Also named in the suit are Michael Peevey, president of the commission, and Mike Florio, one of the commissioners.

The only way that the California Public Utilities Commission could force customers to pay for failed generators at San Onofre would have been to show that Edison acted reasonably in obtaining the generators, according to the suit.

However, Edison deployed the steam generators without a safety license amendment from the Nuclear Regulator Commission. The decision came from the top of Edison, says the suit. Edison has admitted there were design errors causing steam generators to fail. A nuclear scientist was hired to do a study, but when he reported there had been errors, the CPUC obstructed his investigation, thus thwarting any determination of whether Edison was responsible for the failure, according to the suit, which notes that Peevey is a former president of Edison.

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) owns 20 percent of the now-shuttered San Onofre, but is not named in the suit because it had opposed Edison's plans for replacing the old steam generators with four new ones.

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Comments
28

Interesting tactic.

Nov. 14, 2014

aardvark: The CPUC's coziness with California utilities has been proven many times over. The email exchanges over the San Bruno explosion make the case poignantly. Ditto for the CPUC's attempt to get Southern California off the hook in its rape of ratepayers. All this is spelled out in this lawsuit.

Courts have let the CPUC and utilities get away with almost anything. But the San Bruno publicity and this lawsuit might change things. Best, Don Bauder

Nov. 14, 2014

The thing that would REALLY change things would be criminal indictments of Peevey and Florio. The legal wheels in civil matters turn too slowly to avoid further miscarraiges by the CPUC. If those guys were indicted, they would have to recuse themselves, and likely would resign to save face for the Guv.

Nov. 14, 2014

Visduh: You are absolutely right, and there is evidence that could do just what you propose. But what are the odds, with Peevey's close friend Jerry Brown serving another term as governor? Best, Don Bauder

Nov. 14, 2014

Depends on how serious Governor Brown is about becoming a candidate (for the second time? No for the fourth time) for the Democratic Nomination for President. If he decides to run Peevey may have to resign to avoid scandal.

Nov. 14, 2014

Moonbeam is, as was described in the 90's, too stale, too male, too pale. At his age? Gimme a break!

Nov. 14, 2014

Visduh: Agreed. I think he is out of the presidential picture. Best, Don Bauder

Nov. 14, 2014

MichaelValentine: President? Remember, Brown is in his mid-70s. Best, Don Bauder

Nov. 14, 2014

The CPUC corrupt? What a surprise that would be! LOL.

Nov. 15, 2014

AlexClarke: The CPUC is not corrupt as Hell. In Hell, the debauched residents and Satan do their nasty deeds in the open; the joint is inhabited by sociopaths -- what a paradise for psychiatrists!

At the CPUC, the underhandedness is actually dirtier, but as on Wall Street, it is buried in unfathomable documents, words spoken in tongues, everyone stabbed from the back -- nobody from the front. Best, Don Bauder

Nov. 15, 2014

28 - page Complaint seeks more than $3,000,000,000 in restitution to more than 17 million customers and an injunction against what plaintiff's said was an improper taking of property by the utility and regulators. The utilities were unjustly enriched by the taking without doe process. Ray Lutz of Citizens Oversight Project states that the PUC.attempted to settle with.some of the Intervenes without a determination of the issue of lack of prudence by the utility operators. Emails by staffers leave no doubt that the PUC is just a pro - utility rubber stamp, Kangaroo court, which denies due process to ratepayers.

The failure to determine fault is inexcusable. What is the big hurry to settle this dispute? The operator endangered public safety by placing profits over safety. The PUC is so based toward energy investors that stock quotes were sent to Chairman Peavey every day in the San Bruno matter, for example.

This failure to investigate the lack of prudence could only happen by excluding Ray Lutz and Michael Aguirre from the settlement talks. As an lawyer, I would not engage in ex parte contacts with the decision - maker even if invited to do so. Some of the Intervenes wanted to collect their fees by going along to get along and pay their bills, according to what I read.

Prudence is the key issue in nuclear power generating of electricity, not profits of the investors. Whistle blowers spelled out the dangers to 8.5 million people surrounding SONGS who have no escape plan. There were substitutions of alloys in the design of the replacement pressure tubes. Vibrations were set up which.could have lead to a massive explosion.

The first thing to do is to get all the documents and take depositions of the percent witnesses. We all suspect that the rush to settle is a cover up. What is the big hurry? The utility sprinkles money around as donations to charities to.come and speak in favor of settlement. What do these charities know? Nothing.

Get the documents, take depositions of precipitation witnesses, determine fault, then entertain settlement with all Intervenes present. Recuse Commissioners with blatant conflicts of interest. This lawsuit should disqualify two.

I went to Costa Mesa and told the Commissioners this myself. They should have listened to me. Now some are defendants.

Nov. 15, 2014

Diogenes: Do we SUSPECT that the rush to settle is a coverup? We KNOW that it is a coverup. Records from San Onofre, San Bruno, the 2007 San Diego fires and other events prove conclusively that the CPUC only cares about utility profits. It cares not a whit about ratepayers. This is a gross violation of its mandate. Best, Don Bauder

Nov. 15, 2014

I used "suspect" so that they guilty could not sue. Ha!

Nov. 17, 2014

This would have been a better story if the reporter had did a little more digging in to Loretta Lynch. She was the CPUC's President during the 2000-1 California energy crisis. On June 14, 2000, the then hottest day on record in Northern California, PG&E under of the auspices of then CPUC President Lynch staged rolling blackouts in the San Francisco bay area...10 people died as a result according to the press. Subsequent investigation by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [FERC] showed the blackout was staged by the likes of Enron, Calpine, Southern Energy, and PG&E by taking their power plants off line unexpectedly so they could raise the price of electricity and justify more gas fired combustion turbines being constructed by the state. This was Enron's idea of deregulation. But that killed 10 and the CPUC didn't care. Ask Loretta Lynch about her position on deregulation. She was appointed by Gov Davis who was Brown's Chief of Staff. ...Speaking of Chief's of Staff, I just learned that Peevey's Chief of Staff Carol Brown is the girl friend of Governor Brown's brother..go figure...and you know those non-profits Peevey was doing his mafia shakedown for of PG&E in Cherry's May 30, 2010 email...those funds are being laundered for the Democratic Party of California. Don't expect anything soon from the so-called California AG, Harris, is former CA House Speaker Willie Brown's girl friend, or the Feds for that matter...you see their all part of the operation.

Nov. 15, 2014

Meant to write Chief of Staff Carol Brown is the girl friend of Governor Brown's cousin ..Geoffrey F. Brown

Nov. 15, 2014

meboyd: Well, close anyway. Best, Don Bauder

Nov. 15, 2014

meboyd: Loretta Lynch was president of the CPUC during the energy crisis, but you can hardly blame her. She tried to rein in the utilities. Gray Davis then replaced her with Peevey, who promised to be more friendly to the utilities. In his dozen years, he turned out to be the utilities' and Wall Street's best friend -- and the biggest enemy of ratepayers. Best, Don Bauder

Nov. 15, 2014

Don't agree..you need to talk to her about why she still supports deregulation to understand. She was one of the architects of this fiasco. The corruption is a culture within the CPUC. Jerry Brown appointed Peevey just like Davis before him. Their all in the same operation...to defraud you and me of billions. I'm after the Sin, not the sinners, her unclean hands will make Peevey get off scott free, if folks aren't careful here. This corruption goes all the way to the top..to Jerry Brown himself, and probably goes right to the White House and Justice Department too. Don't believe me just watch and see what happens.

Nov. 15, 2014

meboyd: Gray Davis brought in Peevey to make the utilities happy. He made them ecstatic. They were very unhappy under Loretta Lynch because she would not lick their boots. Best, Don Bauder

Nov. 15, 2014

Please provide a link to the lawsuit.

Nov. 15, 2014

laplayaheritage: The lawsuit is now posted. Many thanks for suggesting it. Best, Don Bauder

Nov. 16, 2014

Salute to Don Bauder for continuing to keep all of us informed, since it is obvious that our Local MSM is remaining silent on this subject thanks to the cozy relationship between them and our BIG Utilities.

Nov. 17, 2014

Founder: Jeff McDonald of the U-T did two good stories that covered this. Best, Don Bauder

Nov. 17, 2014

Don, I read them after I commented above but unless you have a Facebook account you can post comments on the UT site, I wonder why...?

Yet another reason why the San Diego Reader is THE place for balanced news (and comments) about what is really happening in San Diego.

Nov. 17, 2014

Founder: I agree. The San Diego Reader is THE place for news that is not written to please the downtown establishment. Best, Don Bauder

Nov. 17, 2014

I learned more about the California PUC by reading this article than I could have by reading all the rest of the newspapers in California.

It looks like both political parties are in on the utilities game. Democrats need a new game plan that is pro-consumer and ratepayer. Why vote if the Democrats cannot offer hope and change? California has super majorities in the legislature and a Democratic Governor, yet they cannot give a cost of living adjustment to victims of medical malpractice because Democrats are taking big donations from medical malpractice insurance companies. That forces the issue into the initiative/referendum areana where insurance companies and doctors can out fund raise consimer groups and cpnsumer attorneys. Likewise with the utilities racket.

Governor Brown must be aware of the utility scam. He should fire Peavey immediately before the SONGS deal goes through with Commissioners Mike Florio (former Senior attorney for TURN) and Peavey voting for it. This will be a stain on Brown's legacy if he does not do so.

Maybe the filing of the lawsuit will create enough of a conflict of interest to force the recusal of both of these Commissioners on the approval.vote of this ill - advised settlement. Moreover, this exposee' will force reform of the pro - utility California PUC.

Nov. 18, 2014

Diogenes: You may learn even more from my column that will show up online tomorrow (Wednesday) and in print Thursday. Of course Brown is aware of the utilities scam. Peevey is his friend. His sister is on the board of Sempra. He gets plenty from utilities. Best, Don Bauder

Nov. 18, 2014

Shocked--SHOCKED, I tell you!

This is just one center of power (npi) among countless others. They know there are not enough Aguirres and Bauders out there to slay all such dragons. But again, no organized party that doesn't diffuse it strength by petty internal arguments exists to counter the power. They can wait us out. "The streets" are only places to vent. We will eventually run out of energy and go home. The real action--perhaps the real potential, may be "virtual."

This is what I mean by The Corporate Feudal State and Culture Against Society. How the many can be controlled by the few. Bauder has his fingers in the dike and Aguirre has his sword, but the North Sea is overwhelming. Can we split the arrow? Can we break the arrow?

This would not work if social ostracism existed (we have sold out our cooperative birthright for a mess of competitive pottage--we cannot BE social in such great numbers), but that can backfire too--just wait until all the little boys who haven't been socialized, who have been ostracized and must curl up with a video game, graduate to making video games, acting out video games, who are antisocial in the extreme, who are devoid of empathy, rise up in great numbers. Maybe this is what it will take--cyberassualts on the Kings and Earls of the commercial/industrial/military complexes; electronic spears through the chinks in their armor. An army that is not an army. Individuals in quiet places, moving ahead of the pursuers' goons--geeks is low places toppling the edifices of power . . .

We must come to understand the real nature of the threats to truly social interaction and integrity; we fiddle while all the San Onofres burn, literally and figuratively. The trouble is, the Robin Hoods are just as corrupt in their way as the Kings and Earls. Maybe we will have to go out of our minds to come to our senses, but it won't be pretty.

Dec. 15, 2014

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