TURN CPUC Reform Bill Headed Toward Approval

 

For Immediate Release From TURN, The Utility Reform Network

Monday, June 27, 2016, San Francisco–The Utility Reform Network (TURN) today applauded Senators Mark Leno and Ben Hueso for winning Governor Brown’s support for long-overdue CPUC reforms. TURN began working with Senators Leno and Hueso in 2015 to reform the CPUC process that has allowed back door deals with utilities to flourish.

The revised version of TURN’s bill, SB 215, that the Governor announced support for today, will improve the CPUC’s decision-making by limiting the role of private unreported communications with CPUC Commissioners and Advisors, ensuring that decisions are based on publicly disclosed evidence, and moving critical discussions into public forums where all interested stakeholders can contribute.

The bill represents an important first step to restore public confidence in the ability of the CPUC to make fair and unbiased decisions on a wide array of issues that effect virtually all of California’s residents and businesses.

“We appreciate the strong leadership shown by Senator Leno and Senator Hueso on reforming the CPUC to shut down backroom deals” said Mark Toney, TURN’s Executive Director. “SB 215 offers concrete improvements to promote transparency, close loopholes in the current process, and limit the opportunities for private interests to seek special favors behind closed doors.”

Key provisions of SB 215 (Contact TURN for a complete list):

  • Ban the practice of unreported ‘one-way’ or ‘listening mode’ communications between Commissioners and parties.
  • Require representatives of credit rating agencies and Wall street investors to be subject to all ex parte
  • Require Commissioners and their advisors to disclose and describe any ex parte communications.
  • Establish new standards for determining when a Commissioner or Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) should be disqualified due to bias or prejudice, requiring an independent process.
  • Allow the CPUC to impose a complete ban on ex parte meetings in ratesetting or quasi-legislative proceedings.
  • Empower the Attorney General to bring an enforcement action in superior court and seek sanctions against any Commission employee who violates the ex parte