I don’t want my name linked to this information, at this point in time.
Geoffrey Brown and Michael Peevey were involved in a CPUC Fundraiser, asking for donations from the Utilities they regulate, at a cost of $20,000 per table. This was in January 2011, which was a few months after the PG&E fire in San Bruno.
The following link, shows a picture of Geoffrey Brown talking to Assemblyman Jerry Hill.
“Assemblyman” Jerry Hill was protesting the fundraiser. Jerry Hill is now “Senator” Jerry Hill.
Geoffrey Brown was one of the Officers of the Fundraiser I can’t find the link, but I recall that Geoffrey Brown was the number 2 officer of the Fundraiser, and Peevey was the number 1 Officer of the Fundraiser. It was because of this fundraiser, that I learned of Geoffrey Brown’s relationship to Peevey’s Chief of Staff.
Please see this link (click on the photo of Jerry Hill/Geoffrey Brown, for info, and ask yourself, What is Geoffrey Brown doing at the CPUC?):
Assemblyman Jerry Hill gave another verbal lashing to the CPUC today for an event held in the commission’s honor that solicited money from the utilities it regulates.
PG&E was among several utilities, along with other organizations, that bought $20,000 tables for a dinner in San Francisco that celebrated the California Public Utilities Commission’s 100th anniversary.
Hill, D-San Mateo, blasted the utility’s involvement in the fundraiser because, he said, the money raised by the foundation—which is a separate entity from the commission but has former regulators on its board—could be used to potentially influence the CPUC’s decisions with financial support coming from companies such as Pacific Gas & Electric Co.
“One hundred years of the California Public Utilities Commission is a tremendous accomplishment and they’ve done great work over the years,” Hill said as he stood in front of the steps of the CPUC’s headquarters. “But this dinner has been hijacked into a fundraising event for this foundation, and that’s the problem I have with it.”
Hill has become increasingly critical of the CPUC since numerous problems have been revealed about PG&E’s pipeline safety practices following the Sept. 9 gas explosion and fire, which left eight people dead and 38 homes destroyed.
The CPUC foundation was established to educate the public about the work the commission performs, and the money raised at today’s fundraiser would be used to award staff members, pay for training and put on public forums.
Hill said today’s event sends the message that the CPUC’s focus isn’t where it should be: investigating the cause of the explosion and properly auditing utility inspection records.
“If you’re going on a trip to a conference some place, staying in a hotel and going to the classes, and that is paid for directly by the utilities that you regulate,” Hill said, “how can you have an arm’s length relationship with that utility?”
Thomas MacBride, a lawyer who sits on the foundation’s board, disagreed with Hill’s take on the event and said the foundation was established with the intent of promoting the history of the CPUC, not influencing legislation. Most of the events the foundation is expecting to organize, he added, won’t even be related to issues over which the CPUC has jurisdiction.
In defense of PG&E’s involvement in the fundraiser, MacBride said PG&E was among more than 30 organizations that donated money to the event—all of which have been involved with the CPUC in some capacity, including consumer advocacy group The Utility Reform Network.
“It’s a big deal because it’s the agency’s founding,” he said.
San Bruno residents John and Joanne McGlothlin, whose Claremont Avenue home was damaged in the Crestmoor fire, were the only members of the public besides reporters who showed up at Hill’s press conference.
John McGlothlin said they showed up to support Hill’s comments toward the CPUC, adding that he has now lost faith in the commission since the explosion.
“My issue is that I’ve been hearing about how they regulate since the fire, and it has changed my perception,” McGlothlin said. “I think there was an attitude of ‘Go easy, don’t clamp down and don’t fine them,’ because (the utilities) won’t report things.”
Also on today, CPUC President Michael Peevey announced that he would make the commission’s investigation of the Crestmoor explosion more open to the public, according to media reports.
The National Transportation Safety Board is leading the main investigation into the pipeline explosion, which could take more than a year. Shortly after the disaster, the CPUC also decided to set up its own independent panel to look into the explosion, but the decision to make the investigation’s proceedings more available to the public only came after the commission began hearing complaints that the investigation was being conducting behind closed doors.