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Legislators Try to Curtail CPUC Autonomy

An attempt to use the power of the purse to exercise more control over the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is now working its way through the state Legislature. 
 
An Assembly budget subcommittee passed a proposal to “zero out” the CPUC’s budget, against the protests of the regulator’s executive director and the Department of Finance. 
 
The action would limit the CPUC’s autonomy by forcing it to justify its spending practices.  Menlo Park Assemblyman Rich Gordon calls the regulator an “imperial fiefdom” that requires more oversight.
 
"You see increasingly within the state legislature a growing lack of confidence in the leadership and management at the CPUC," Gordon says.  "We’ve had concerns about the culture of the CPUC, particularly in light of safety concerns."
 
Gordon admits the action is highly unusual and radical, but he says the subcommittee believes it’s necessary.  The action still has several hurdles before the final budget vote on June 15.
 
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