Top TURN Attorney to Join CPUC

 

Mike Florio, Senior Attorney at TURN will leave the nonprofit organization after 32 years of service to take a seat on the CPUC. Florio, a widely respected expert in utility issues, has saved consumers billions of dollars during his tenure at TURN, won vital consumer protections and spearheaded key policy victories.

For Immediate Release: January 25th, 2011

San Francisco—Mike Florio, Senior Attorney at The Utility Reform Network (TURN) will leave the nonprofit organization after 32 years of service to take a seat on the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Governor Brown announced the appointment today. Florio, a widely respected expert in utility issues, has saved consumers billions of dollars during his tenure at TURN, and spearheaded key policy victories.

Florio’s appointment comes at a time when the Commission has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, mostly due to its laxity in enforcing pipeline safety standards, and sends a strong signal that Governor Brown will remake a Commission that appears far too friendly with the companies it regulates.

“Consumers in California now have a CPUC Commissioner they can depend on,” said TURN executive director Mark Toney. “Mike Florio is eminently qualified to serve on an agency whose mission is to ‘protect the public interest by protecting consumers.’ His expertise and dedication are likely to help the Commission rehabilitate its tarred image.”

As the organization’s senior attorney, Florio has supervised TURN’s legal advocacy since 1989. Since first joining TURN’s staff in 1978 as an unpaid volunteer, Florio has participated in most major energy proceedings at the CPUC. He coordinated development of TURN’s policies on energy-related issues and is regarded as a leading authority on the natural gas industry. Florio also served on the governing board of the California Independent System Operator from 1997 through early 2005.

Florio has won vital consumer protections from the ravages of gas and electric deregulation, including limits on rate hikes and direct access. Among his many significant achievements, he:

Convinced the CPUC to penalize PG&E for imprudent gas purchases and dismiss its $569 million rate hike request. (1980) Convinced the CPUC to reject Southern California Edison’s proposal for a “customer charge”, which would have cost customers $4.65 a month regardless of whether they used any electricity that month. (1988) Led the coalition that defeated generator/utility efforts to create capacity markets that would have given FERC more jurisdiction over power purchases and could have cost California consumers as much as $1billion per year. (2011)

“When I knocked on Sylvia Siegel’s door and asked if I could volunteer at TURN, I never imagined it would lead me to the CPUC,” said Florio. “If Sylvia were alive today she’d probably point out that I was just a young pipsqueak when she took me on, but she saw my potential.”