Michael Picker and Michael Peevey
San Diego attorneys Mike Aguirre and Maria Severson yesterday (December 7) wrote a letter to both houses of the state legislature, asking them to convene a joint select committee to investigate the California Public Utilities Commission. If the agency's current activities continue, the commission should perhaps be put into receivership, say the attorneys.
The attorneys point out that in 2005, a federal judge concluded that the California prison medical care system was "broken beyond compare," and it was placed under a receivership. In that case, the judge found that "the harm already done to the people of California could not be more grave, and the threat of future injury and death is virtually guaranteed in the absence of drastic action."
Those words apply to the utilities commission now, say Aguirre and Severson, citing the regulatory agency's "oversight failures" in the 2007 San Diego fires, the 2010 gas explosion in San Bruno, the 2012 failure of generators at San Onofre, the 2015 gas leak at Aliso Canyon, and this year's fires in Northern California. To blame is "regulatory capture," by which the utilities run the regulator, not the other way around, say Aguirre and Severson.
The letter cites how the disgraced Michael Peevey, former head of the CPUC, "rigged a secret deal" to make ratepayers pay for the San Onofre failure. Peevey was replaced by Michael Picker, whose agenda has been covering up past commission misdeeds, protecting utilities' interests above those of citizens and expanding the California electric grid into a regional system, thus diluting Californians' voting control.