Point of View: Public Utlities Commission

Few Californians have even heard of the Public Utilities Commission. Also referred to as the PUC.
Yet it is in fact a regulatory agency that affects all of us in a very big way. The PUC mandate is "to protect "consumers and ensure the provision of safe reliable utility service."

In recent years the PUC has failed in that mission.

It is substantially to blame for allowing the Porter Ranch gas leak debacle to happen and the agency is now under criminal investigation for mishandling the shutdown and cleanup of the San Onofre Nuclear Plant.
Also the PUC has allowed far too many utility rate increases that were not justified.

The PUC is desperately in need of reform.

Last year Governor Brown vetoed a number of bills that would have reformed the PUC to make it more accountable to California taxpayers. In response this year California lawmakers introduced a number of measures that would have given the power over the PUC to the legislature. This initiative would have taken the control over the PUC away from the Governor and given it to the legislature.

So, Governor Brown convinced lawmakers to abandon their initiative by proposing his own reform package.
In the end, the Governor made very little effort to make sure his reform bills were passed.

This ineptness coupled with his incredible lack of leadership and possibly his fear of losing control is why NO much needed PUC reform got through to the legislature. The question could be raised as to whether this Governor was ever really sincere about PUC reorganization in the first place. Governor Brown has the responsibility to propose a ballot initiative to revamp the PUC or make sure lawmakers and the legislature do it.

The people of California should be given a chance to vote on PUC reform. We don't want any more PUC disasters like San Onofre and Porter Ranch.

What do you think? We want to hear from you about this P.O.V. segment. Share your thoughts by emailing me directly at POV@fox11.com.

Bob Cook
Vice President and General Manager
FOX 11 Los Angeles

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