Where’s the accountability? Public Utilities Commissioner Michael Peevey, criticized for inappropriate relations with utilities companies, leaves the commission with $80,000 ratepayer-funded pension

24 Dec

There is just no accountability anymore. The fox is not only in charge of the hen house, he’s in charge of the entire farmyard nowadays. There’s nobody for the public citizen to call when they are having their pockets turned inside out by corrupt government and quasi-government agencies, like the utility companies. 

The utility companies are supposed to be supervised by the California Public Utilities Commission, but if you’ve been following the conversation here you know that is a Pollyanna fantasy. Those who have been following the CPUC longer than I have point to Governor Gray Davis’ 1999 – 2003 term as the beginning of a general takeover of the commission by Davis’ utility company cronies, starting with the installment of Southern California Edison president Michael Peevey to the very commission that was supposed to keep people like him in check. This all happened right under our noses, but I think we were probably busy watching The Simpsons. 

What a bizarre period of history that was – ending with a Hollywood takeover of the Governor’s mansion. It may well have been an episode of The Simpsons, but it really happened. Davis was in thick with the utility companies, with representatives from all the major providers within his cabinet of consultants. He floated in contributions from the utility companies. When his friends manipulated the market to raise prices, laughing about it all along in those famous taped phone  calls, Davis called for ratepayers to conserve! Sound familiar?

Davis left under recall, but his cronies like Peevey stayed on in various appointed positions.  Gubernor Schwarzenegger didn’t do anything to change things, I’m guessing the utilities became more powerful over his administration, I haven’t researched it. Current governor Jerry Brown also took quatloos of dough from the utility companies, returning PG&E’s campaign contributions for this latest election only after “inappropriate” e-mails and phone calls between his office, PG&E, and employees of the CPUC were made public. 

http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article2622212.html

That is the scandal that finally took Peevey out of office, at 75, into a plush retirement, but didn’t part a hair on the Moonbeam’s head. Here we are, stuck with him another four years. 

I can’t really celebrate Peevey’s departure, I’ve looked at the credentials of the other commissioners and it’s all the same – former employees of utility companies, whether directly employed or worked for them as employees of lawyers and other consultants. And then there’s Peevey’s retirement – I think he should have got a suit of tar and feathers, but he’ll get $80,000/year salary, along with complete health care and long-term care, and don’t forget the Cost of Living Adjustment, which is based on a percentage of their pension. The rich get richer a lot faster than the poor under these pensions. 

Here’s a piece about Peevey’s last meeting with the CPUP.

http://abc7news.com/news/controversial-peevey-presides-over-last-cpuc-meeting/442082/

A bizarre send-off, for a very bizarre man, in a very bizarre situation. I can only hope Senator Jerry Hill is right when he says this will be a new start for the CPUC, but Peevey’s replacement will be chosen by Governor Brown.

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