More PG&E Emails Suggest Violation of Rules

A dozen email chains between PG&E and the state’s utility regulator could reflect violations of rules governing communications

Pacific Gas & Electric Company on Monday released a dozen new email chains that it says shows improper discussions between executives at the utility company and regulators at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). 

The latest batch of communications is in apparent violation of rules governing communications between the CPUC and regulated entities. The emails date back to 2010 and again show PG&E's former vice president of regulatory affairs, Brian Cherry, describing meetings with CPUC president Michael Peevey.

In an email from last January, Cherry reported to his boss that Peevey called the San Bruno mayor “emotional” and the city manager “nuts.” City officials have been critical of the CPUC since the PG&E pipeline explosion in San Bruno in 2010 that killed eight people. 

San Bruno city manager Connie Jackson calls the latest emails “beyond appalling” and Major Jim Ruane called them “disturbing and disguising.”
The new emails follow the release this summer of thousands of email communications between PG&E and the CPUC, some of which violate rules concerning ex-parte communications and others that further reveal an overly-cozy relationship between the utility company and the regulator. 
“Some of the emails that we are reporting today suggest clear violations of ex-parte rules along with behavior that clearly failed to meet our expectations,” PG&E Chairman and CEO Tony Early said in a news release. “We sincerely regret that and have taken action to prevent it in the future. Other emails represent judgment calls that we are submitting out of an abundance of caution.”
PG&E also announced Monday that it would release an additional 65,000 emails to and from the CPUC in mid-February. The emails date back to 2010 and were voluntarily reviewed by PG&E for violations in rules governing communications. 
The revelation of improper communications between PG&E and the CPUC has sparked investigations by the U.S. attorneys office and the state attorney general. PG&E fired three executives and developed a new ethics position after the release of initial emails earlier this year. 
Peevey, who has served as CPUC president for 12 years, announced that he will not seek reappointment. His last day in office is December 31.
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