Capitol Alert

California officials to fete Michael Peevey

In this Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012 file photo, Michael Peevey, the president of the California Public Utilities Commission, listens to a speaker at Irvine City Hall in Irvine, Calif.
In this Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012 file photo, Michael Peevey, the president of the California Public Utilities Commission, listens to a speaker at Irvine City Hall in Irvine, Calif. AP

Amid the ongoing drip of revelations into back channel communications between Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and the California Public Utilities Commission, Brown administration officials and other political heavyweights are sponsoring a tribute dinner for Michael Peevey, the embattled former president of the PUC.

Peevey will be honored for his “lifetime of service to the people of California” at a dinner in San Francisco on Thursday. Former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown will emcee. U-T San Diego first reported on the event.

The suggested donation for the dinner, at the Julia Morgan Ballroom at the Merchant Exchange Building in San Francisco, is $250, with proceeds benefiting the Goldman School of Public Policy at University of California, Berkeley.

Among the listed sponsors: Michael Picker, who replaced Peevey atop the PUC; Kathleen Brown, the former state treasurer and sister of Gov. Jerry Brown; Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board; Dan Richard, chairman of the California High-Speed Rail Authority board; and Susan Kennedy, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s former chief of staff.

Peevey and the PUC, which regulates California’s massive energy and telecommunications industries, are under ongoing scrutiny for back channel communications with PG&E following a gas line explosion that killed eight people in San Bruno in 2010.

The state attorney general and U.S. attorney’s office in San Francisco have both opened investigations into the matter. In emails released last year, a PG&E executive said Peevey, among other things, suggested 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, the husband of Democratic state Sen. Carol Liu, did not seek reappointment when his term expired at the end of last year.

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

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