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In search of state utilities commission's jugular...

Attorneys write legislature, ask for neutering of failed agency

Michael Picker and Michael Peevey
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.

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Michael Picker and Michael Peevey
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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.

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Comments
9

Valid argument, and one with lots of evidence to back it up. The two questions are whether the legislature will agree it's valid and, if they do, will Gov. Brown agree with them? Even if the first answer is "yes," I can't see Jerry going along, as this would strike at the heart of his cronyism. Since he won't term out until January 2019, that's a long time left for him to obstruct.

Dec. 8, 2017

Cassander: The trouble is that the blame for much of CPUC's wrongdoing lies at the feet of Gov. Brown. Among many things, he is a close buddy of Peevey -- probably the reason that the A.G. sat on the Peevey/Edison evidence until the statute ran out. Kamala Harris needed Brown's support.

So your point is valid. Will the politicians in either house of the legislature vote for something that they know will upset -- if not enrage -- Brown? Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 8, 2017

The CPUC should be prosecuted under RICO. Everyone working there should be fired. The CPUC should be reconstituted and the commissioners should be elected. Our worthless legislators should stand up and be counted and held accountable for their actions or lack thereof.

Dec. 9, 2017

AlexClarke: I don't know that a RICO charge would stick. The CPUC must be cleaned out, although not everyone there -- janitors, for example -- deserves to be fired. I fear the "worthless legislators," as you describe them, might chicken out. Remember that the last effort reform offered by the legislature was vetoed by Brown. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 9, 2017

Looking at those two mustachioed slime balls, I'm almost tempted to shave off my trademark mustache (and beard, I suppose.) RICO is a federal law that has been hard to employ: they knew what they were trying to punish, but had a hard time trying to define it. I'm hard-pressed to think of a time when RICO was used on a corporate entity or a state agency like CPUC. Does it apply? For sure! The real question is if a Trump DOJ would pursue these corrupt Dems in California. Sounds like a silly question, I know. But it does offer an opening to clean house in Sacto.

Dec. 9, 2017

Visduh: California needs a housecleaning, but the current administration in Washington deserves to be hanged. I will be very disappointed if there are not criminal charges in the Russsia matter. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 9, 2017

Thomas Weller: RICO wouldn't work with a state agency, I fear. But there are plenty of other grounds for criminal charges against both CPUC and Edison personnel. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 9, 2017

Because both SCE and SDG&E donate so much money to our elected Officials, it is naive to think they are going to have change of heart until ratepayers/voters threaten to vote them out!

Brown & Family are deeply into Energy and they are laughing all the way to the bank as CA ratepayers pay through the nose!

The one thing that may change is if CA ratepayers demand that the CPUC allow the importing of ultra low cost CLEAN Energy from Mexico:

Cheapest Energy on the Planet==>Solar/Wind

Mexican solar power at 1.77¢/kWh – record 1¢/kWh coming in 2019, sooner | Electrek
 https://t.co/R2yQgGMgxG

Dec. 10, 2017

CaptD: Remember, though, that the legislature did pass a package of reforms that Brown vetoed. Best, Don Bauder

Dec. 10, 2017

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