- The California Public Utilities Commission has fined Pacific Gas & Electric Co. $1.05 million for a series of emails that showed the utility attempting to negotiate with CPUC commissoners for a favorable judge to be assigned to its rate case.
- The decision also requires PG&E shareholders to cover up to $400 million in the cost of reparations to their gas customers for the rate impacts of the delay.
- The decision also hit PG&E with severe restrictions on individual communications in its rate proceedings and will require additional reporting on meetings with government or regualtory officials.
State regulators have fined PG&E for a series of emails highlighting the cozy relationship between regulators and the utility, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. And while the commission could ultimately hit shareholders with far less than the $400 million cap discussed in the order, the decision also changes PG&E's ex parte restrictions, requires a one-year ban on individual communications outside of all-party meetings for all ratesetting proceedings and requires certain other reporting of contacts with CPUC senior management.
The decision was authored by Commissioner Carla J. Peterman, the assigned commissioner in the gas transmission and storage case, and supported unanimously by the two commissioners voting on the item. CPUC President Michael Peevey and Commissioner Mike Florio recused themselves in the case and did not participate in the discussion or vote on the matter.
Peevey announced in October that he would not seek reappointment to the commission when his current term expires at the end of the year.
“Through this decision, we continue to send a signal to PG&E that we expect full compliance and appropriate respect for the CPUC’s processes and its staff, as well as fair treatment to its consumers,” said Peterman. “It is my hope that we can move on to a fair and balanced consideration of the appropriate investments that PG&E needs to make in its gas transmission and storage systems moving forward.”
The decisions from regulators fall in line with October sanction recommendations from a CPUC law judge.