- Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) released more emails showing improper private back-channel discussions on regulatory issues involving the utility between former company executive Brian Cherry and California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) President Michael Peevey, Commissioner Michael Florio, and commission staff.
- This is the fourth email release showing PG&E officials discussing pending commission decisions involving PG&E rate cases, penalties, and other issues. Another 65,000 emails between the utility and state regulators will be released by PG&E to the commission by mid-February.
- Disclosures with a National Transportation Safety Board investigation that concluded lax oversight by the CPUC contributed to a 2010 PG&E pipeline explosion that killed eight people in a San Francisco suburb. The U.S. attorney's office has indicted PG&E on charges alleging obstruction of justice and both the U.S. attorney's office and the California Attorney General's office are now investigating the back-channel email communications.
There are increasing allegations of backroom arrangements between utilities and regulators across the country. Duke is under grand jury investigation for its close relationship with North Carolina regulators and citizen groups recently accused the Florida commission of doing the bidding of Florida Power and Light.
Emails reveal Cherry conferring with Peevey and others on PG&E projects and reveal Peevey unsuccessfully recommending an acquaintance for a PG&E executive position. In another email, Peevey reveals the commission’s position on the still-undecided 2010 pipeline explosion penalties and describes San Bruno city leaders as "nuts."
Peevey recently ended his 12 year tenure with the CPUC.
Most involved PG&E employees left the utility and PG&E has new practices to prevent further ethics violations, according to the company. PG&E also wants the CPUC to adopt new open access standards and procedures.