SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— The City of San Bruno is making their case against what they call a cozy relationship between PG&E and its regulator, the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC), after the city obtained emails through a lawsuit following the deadly gas pipeline explosion in 2010 that leveled a neighborhood, killing eight people.
Before Monday morning’s news conference at the PUC’s office in San Francisco, San Bruno officials said the emails indicate an unprofessional, unethical, inappropriate and illegal relationship between the utility company and its regulators. They’re seeking to dismiss the commission’s President Michael Peevey and have formally asked Governor Jerry Brown to fire him.
In addition, they want a criminal investigation to be conducted on both county and state levels with the potential for fines to be imposed.
San Bruno’s mayor, Jim Ruane, reiterated that sentiment.
“These emails provide documented proof that the president of the CPUC and his top staff privately received information from PG&E regarding internal deliberations and financial conditions outside of the CPUC’s public-hearing process.”
State Senator Jerry Hill expressed his outrage.
“When you talk about cozy, the response to one of those emails from the PG&E executive at the end was, “love you” back to the assistant of the president of the PUC. If that’s not cozy, I don’t know what is,” Hill said. “They’re trying to get away with murder, because that’s what to me, the San Bruno experience was. It was not an accident. It was murder.”
PG&E President Chris John released a statement saying the email trail is under review and that questions of employee conduct are taken seriously.
“Let me be very clear,” his statement read. “we take any questions about the conduct of PG&E employees very seriously.” He continues to explain PG&E and the commission are required to communicate on a “daily basis” on a variety of issues pertaining to customers.
John included that if a “high standard” was not upheld in these email interactions, that appropriate action will be taken.