Capitol Alert

Embattled PUC head Peevey won’t seek reappointment

Michael Peevey will not seek to stay on as president of the PUC board.
Michael Peevey will not seek to stay on as president of the PUC board. Associated Press file

Michael Peevey, the embattled president of the California Public Utilities Commission, said Thursday that he will not seek reappointment when his term expires at the end of the year.

The announcement follows revelations this week that Peevey privately told Pacific Gas and Electric Co. executive in 2010 that he expected the utility to spend at least $1 million opposing a ballot measure seeking to undo provisions of Assembly Bill 32, California’s landmark greenhouse gas reduction law.

Peevey also told the official he expected PG&E and other companies to contribute $100,000 each for a celebration the PUC was hosting for its 100th anniversary, according to an email written by the former PG&E executive, Brian Cherry.

The emails were released by PG&E, with the company announcing it had been notified by the U.S. attorney’s office in San Francisco that it has begun an investigation into private communications with the PUC.

Peevey has been under heightened scrutiny since the gas line explosion in San Bruno in 2010. A 2011 National Transportation Safety Board report faulted the PUC for failing to detect “pervasive and long-standing problems” at the utility, and Gov. Jerry Brown came under pressure to strip Peevey of his leadership position.

Sen. Jerry Hill had planned to hold a news conference Thursday to introduce a measure in the Legislature to remove Peevey if Brown re-appointed him.

“I originally planned to make the following announcement at the CPUC’s regularly-scheduled Voting Meeting on October 16th, but instead I am moving the announcement to today to state that I will not seek reappointment to the CPUC when my term expires at the end of this year,” Peevey said in a prepared statement. “Twelve years as President is enough. The Governor, of course, will make a decision as to my successor in due time. I will speak more extensively regarding my terms as CPUC President at the last Voting Meeting of the year on December 18th.”

Call David Siders, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1215. Follow him on Twitter @davidsiders.