California Department of Justice

By David Siders
Published: Friday, Oct. 10, 2014 – 11:39 am

State Attorney General Kamala Harris quietly opened an investigation last month into the California Public Utilities Commission regarding rate-setting procedures and the gas-line explosion in San Bruno, according to emails obtained by The Sacramento Bee.

The investigation comes amid ongoing controversy surrounding back-channel communications between the commission and Pacific Gas and Electric Co. The commission’s president, Michael Peevey, announced Thursday that he will not seek reappointment when his term expires at the end of the year.

In a Sept. 19 email, Kathleen Kenealy, chief assistant attorney general for the civil law division at the California Department of Justice, issued a “hold notice” to the commission’s executive director, Paul Clanon, for records related to the investigation. The email indicated the attorney general’s focus is on issues surrounding the gas-line explosion that killed eight people in San Bruno in 2010, and on communications between commission officials and PG&E in the selection of an administrative law judge for a rate-setting case.

“Paul – I just left you a voice mail to let you know that the Attorney General will be conducting an independent investigation of the CPUC,” Kenealy said in the email. “This is your notice for the CPUC to immediately put a hold on and to preserve all electronic, paper, and any other documentation or potential evidence of any type relating to: (1) the San Bruno Explosion investigation and any PUC matters in connection with that incident; (2) the current rate setting proceeding for PG&E; and (3) anything relating to the assignment of ALJs to PUC matters.”

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