California Department of Justice

Agents seek documents at headquarters for Edison, utilities commission
Read: Search warrants for Edison and CPUC
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By Jeff McDonald | July 6, 2015 – 06:00 a.m.

The criminal investigation of the California Public Utilities Commission appears to be intensifying, with state agents serving a fresh round of search warrants at the regulators’ headquarters in San Francisco and at Southern California Edison offices outside Los Angeles.

The Attorney General’s Office wants details about a settlement agreement that assigned Southern California ratepayers to cover $3.3 billion in shutdown costs for the San Onofre nuclear plant, which closed on an emergency basis in January 2012 after Edison installed faulty replacement steam generators that caused a radiation leak.

According to documents obtained by The San Diego Union-Tribune, investigators executed a warrant at the commission offices on June 5, seeking “any and all records” pertaining to the San Onofre settlement between the day of the leak — Jan. 31, 2012 — and January 2015.

They also requested records of any communications about the commission’s internal investigation of the San Onofre closure and any correspondence regulators had with two consumer groups that negotiated the settlement with Edison.

“With respect to the categories of documents specified in the search warrant, CPUC will search for, review and produce responsive documents,” the warrant orders.

It was not the first search warrant served on the commission, a quasi-judicial agency charged with ensuring “just and reasonable” utility rates for tens of millions of Californians.

Agents seized computers, files and other materials from its San Francisco office in November, focused at that time on the commission’s relationships with Pacific Gas & Electric after a deadly pipeline blast in 2010. The latest warrants show a more recent focus on Edison, majority owner of the San Onofre plant north of Oceanside.

The San Onofre search warrant lists almost two dozen people whose emails and other communications investigators want to review, including the highest levels of leadership at both the commission and the utility.

A 20-page affidavit that lays out the agent’s case for seeking the warrant was sealed by Los Angeles Superior Court. The documents that are publicly available discuss delays in obtaining records needed by investigators.

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