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Assembly Committee Kills CPUC Transparency Bill
June 26, 2012
Yee’s legislation would have disclosed accident reports and other safety records
SACRAMENTO – Last night, the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee killed legislation that would have required public disclosure of accident and safety reports filed with or generated by the California Public Utilities Commission. The bill had previously received bipartisan support in the Senate.
In addition to the disclosure of accident and safety reports of gas and electric utilities, SB 1000 by Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) would have also required the CPUC to make improvements on the commission’s website to ensure greater transparency of investigations, tests, and other reports.
“It is very disappointing that the Assembly would kill this good government bill,” said Yee. “SB 1000 would have brought much-needed sunshine at the CPUC and would have allowed the public to hold the commission and utility companies accountable.”
“It is tragic that the committee didn’t see the tremendous public benefit to the disclosure of this information,” said Jim Ewert, General Counsel to the California Newspaper Publishers Association. “It continues to be difficult for communities to understand the risks that they face.”
Most documents at the CPUC are shielded by a secrecy statute passed in 1951 and a Commission rule adopted in the mid-1970s.
“One would think that the San Bruno disaster at least taught everyone to be vigilant in ensuring utility companies are not endangering our communities and the CPUC is helping protect us,” said Yee. “Apparently that notion was lost on the Assembly Utilities Committee last night.”
Two other bills, also authored by Yee, to hold the CPUC accountable failed during the Senate committee process.
SB 1403, to require a vote of the entire Commission before assigning cases to specific commissioners and to require CPUC staff to report and be accountable to the full Commission and not just the president, was killed by the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee.
Despite bipartisan support, SB 981 – legislation to stop the revolving door of employees between the utilities companies and the CPUC – was held on the suspense file in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
“While these bills were defeated, I will not stop pushing for real accountability at the CPUC,” said Yee.
Contact: Adam J. Keigwin,