- Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has fired three executives for improper communications with state regulators in an exchange of emails where the utility appears to be negotiating for a favorable administrative law.
- California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) President Michael Peevey asked his chief of staff to resign by mutual agreement for responding to PG&E's emails leading up to the utility's gas transmission and storage rate case.
- Peevey has also recused himself from the rate proceeding and said he will recuse himself from the penalty consideration proceedings related to PG&E’s pipeline rupture in San Bruno.
CPUC President Michael Peevey was already taking heat for what some are alleging is a too-cozy relationship with the utilities he regulates, but this latest scandal lends credence to the allegations. At least one email was sent directly to Peevey.
Meanwhile, PG&E fired Tom Bottorff, its vice president of regulatory affairs, Brian Cherry, its vice president of regulatory relations, and Trina Horner, the utility's vice president of regulatory proceedings and rates.
The utility said it found the emails after voluntarily broadening the scope of its internal review of any potential ex parte communications well beyond those communications referenced in a San Bruno motion filed last July. The expanded review included more than 65,000 emails to and from the commission since early 2010.
In response to the discovery, PG&E is creating the new role of chief regulatory compliance officer, whose mandate it will be to oversee compliance with all requirements governing PG&E’s interactions with state regulators.