Regulators, utilities called cozy
May 8, 2013
Pointing to ongoing operational deficiencies on the part of Pacific Gas & Electric, California lawmakers are focusing angry attention on the utility’s regulatory agency, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), according to a report in the Sacramento Bee.
PG&E owns and operates the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in Avila Beach.
Legislative criticism centers around the state agency’s alleged failure to make a priority of its mission, namely to ensure safe utility service. Much of the heat has been aimed at PUC Chairman Michael Peevey, a Brown appointment, and there have been calls for his resignation by several lawmakers.
A San Mateo lawmaker, Democrat Sen. Jerry Hill, represents the area where PG&E’s so-called San Bruno Pipeline exploded in 2010, killing eight and injuring 60. Hill told the newspaper that a leadership change at PUC is needed “to change the culture of complacency.”
An internal report requested by the PUC chided the agency for a lackadaisical commitment to safety and a too-cozy relationship with utility companies it is supposed to regulate.