Officials Want Public Utilities Commission Corruption Probe Revived

Lawmakers on Friday urged California’s incoming attorney general to revive an apparently stalled two-year-old corruption probe into possible backroom deals between utilities and state regulators.

The three officials who lobbied for the the corruption probe back in September 2014 — State Senator Jerry Hill, Assembly Speaker pro Tem Kevin Mullin and San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane — wrote a letter Friday urging Governor Jerry Brown’s replacement for Kamala Harris, Xavier Becerra, to press the effort.

The probe began after emails disclosed following the 2010 San Bruno gas explosion showed cozy dealings between regulators – exposing apparent judge-shopping by PG&E in a key regulatory case arising out of the disaster that left eight dead.

“We’re told the investigation is alive and well and it’s continuing, but we haven’t seen any progress,” said San Bruno City Manager Connie Jackson.

She continued: “But we have a new attorney general coming in. Now is a good time to focus attention on this particular investigation and make sure it moves to the top of the pile.”

In January 2015, state agents seized documents and computer records from the San Francisco headquarters of the Public Utilities Commission. The probe began after emails released PG&E raised

State agents also searched the Los Angeles county home of the PUC President Michael Peevey and uncovered evidence of an unrelated secret deal to shut down the San Onofre nuclear plant saddled closing costs on customers. Peevey was soon ousted.

Lawmakers who wrote to Becerra, a former congressman from Los Angeles county legislator and prosecutor, to express concern over the status of the probe.

“It’s essential that a thorough investigation move forward and that all possible criminal charges are vigorously prosecuted,” Hill said in a statement. “A misstep or a delay could impair – or eliminate – the chance to pursue a case.”

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