New President at CPUC Faces Major Challenges

pickerThe new California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) President Michael Picker will have his hands full trying to repair public opinion and move toward a more efficient CPUC.

Our Climate Change Team tracks the CPUC policies and activities. The CPUC regulates electricity and natural gas utilities as well as telecommunications, water and transportation companies. It has major responsibilities in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the CPUC and its past-president, Michael Peevey, helped make California a leader in renewable energy.  In recent years, however, the agency’s reputation has been badly tarnished.

Problems at the CPUC began in 2010 with the San Bruno natural gas disaster, after which its inadequate safety oversight was revealed. Since then a host of breaches of ethics and rules have surfaced.  In October, president Peevey announced he was stepping down. In late December, Governor Brown named Michael Picker, a commissioner since 2014, as Peevey’s replacement.  Picker, at his first meeting as president, pledged to repair the broken parts of the CPUC, which included focusing on public safety, being responsive to the public, making significant cultural changes and improving internal communications.

Bob MacDonald for the Climate Change Team

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