Records Demanded on|California Utilities Rates

     OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) – The California Public Utilities Commission is withholding public records on rate reform that may shed light on its “objectively inappropriate relationships” with utilities companies, a John Doe Entity claims in court.
     Doe Entity on Friday sought writ of mandate in Alameda County Court.
     Doe sought CPUC records on its interactions with the state’s three largest investor-owned utilities: Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric.
     After three months, the commission responded with only 20 emails, most of which were irrelevant, Doe says.
     Doe seeks records on off-the-record discussions of rate reforms for the companies’ solar energy customers.
     Doe says that PG&E disclosed more than 65,000 emails between it and the commission during state and federal investigations.
     Improper communications revealed by a “widely reported public release of thousands of emails” in September and October 2014 revealed indiscretions such as a PG&E vice president reporting that the head of the commission expected PG&E to spend more than $1 million to oppose Proposition 23, which would have put a hold on California’s law capping greenhouse gas emissions, the petition says.
     Another message showed a PG&E executive lobbying the commission for a preferred administrative law judge to preside over the $1.3 billion rate-setting case that stemmed from the deadly San Bruno pipeline explosion in September 2010, according to the petition.
     Doe also requested communications about fixed charges and minimum bills with residential rates, net energy metering, new fees for customers who use a net energy metering tariff, time of use rates for residential customers and how time of use rates should be set.
     Doe says its request was “broad, but also very specific in the topics it covered.”
     When Doe asked PG&E for more records than the 20 emails that it sent, PG&E claimed that it had “not withheld any responsive records” and did not respond to the emails for three more months, at which point the petitioner brought legal action.
     Neither side could be reached for comment on Monday.
     The petitioner seeks a writ of mandate and declaratory relief.
     Doe is represented by Michael Colantuono, with Colantuono Highsmith in Penn Valley.

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