State Looking At Criminal Charges Against Former CPUC Pres

State Attorney General Kamala Harris’ office is considering criminal charges against Michael Peevey, former president of the California Public Utilities Commission, for his private meeting with a Southern California Edison Co. executive about financial arrangements for shutting down the San Onofre nuclear plant, according to newly disclosed legal documents.

A sworn affidavit filed by a state investigator in a Los Angeles court Sept. 25 said there was evidence that Peevey and Stephen Pickett, Edison’s executive vice president for external relations, had violated a state law against ex parte communications — private contacts between a regulatory official and a regulated entity about issues the agency is considering.

Engaging in such communications is a misdemeanor, and conspiring to do so can be charged as a felony.

Unfair advantage

There is “probable cause to believe” that Pickett and Peevey “knowingly engaged in and conspired to engage in prohibited ex parte communications regarding the closure of a nuclear facility, to the advantage of (Edison) and to the disadvantage of other interested parties,” said the agent, Reye Diaz.

Diaz said Peevey also “conspired to obstruct justice by illegally engaging in ex parte communications, concealed ex parte communications, and inappropriately interfered with the settlement process.”

Peevey, 76, has not commented on the allegations. The Public Utilities Commission did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

There was also no comment from the office of Gov. Jerry Brown. A San Francisco judge will consider next month whether to order disclosure of e-mails between Brown’s office and Michael Picker, the governor’s appointee as commission president, over the San Onofre closure and settlement.