Thursday, May 28, San Francisco—
The Utility Reform Network today criticized the California Public Utilities Commission’s rubber-stamp approval of PG&E’s bankruptcy plan without sufficient consumer protections. TURN had urged the Commission to grab the opportunity to enhance oversight and streamline the process for revocation of PG&E’s license in the event of another destructive fire. PG&E’s repeated criminal conduct and flouting of safety rules necessitate the CPUC’s appointment of an independent safety monitor now.
“The Commission should put PG&E on probation, just as the criminal court has,” said TURN executive director Mark Toney. “If fires caused by PG&E destroy our homes and communities again, the CPUC ‘s response should be short, swift and unambiguous. PG&E has been given plenty of chances and has bungled them all. There should be no more chances for PG&E.”
The CPUC-approved process requires a multi-year delay between a horrific event and the initiation of a license review, tying the Commissions’ hands no matter how drastically PG&E fails. The Commission’s process starts with enhanced reporting and oversight requirements that overlap with current reporting requirements and have been tried before with PG&E – without success. And with the parade of CEOs at the helm of PG&E, a stable CPUC monitor is needed immediately.
Toney said in TURN’s view today’s decision sent the wrong message not only to PG&E but also to its customers, who have borne the brunt of fires, shutoffs and management mistakes. “Why not take the opportunity to hold PG&E to higher standards,” Toney asked. “No more excuses, no more explanations. Either PG&E stops its criminal conduct or the CPUC moves immediately to revoke its license.”