Amid Uproar Over PG&E Emails, CPUC Chief Michael Peevey Says He'll Leave

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The seal of the California Public Utilities Commission.

Update, 2:40 p.m.: California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey, under fire for his back-channel communications with PG&E, has announced he'll step down when his term ends at the end of the year.

Here's Peevey's statement, issued late Thursday morning:

“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. 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.”

Peevey's statement doesn't address the growing controversy over CPUC leaders' relationship with PG&E, as disclosed in a series of emails that have become public over the last several months. In several email exchanges, Peevey, his chief of staff and other commission officials directly or indirectly discuss regulatory and political issues with company executives.

Those revelations have prompted demands from utility watchdogs and others for Peevey's resignation and dismissal. Thursday's announcement came at the same time that state Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) was unveiling a bill that would have removed Peevey should Gov. Jerry Brown reappoint him. The governor has expressed support for the commission president, who was originally appointed to the CPUC in 2002 by Gov. Gray Davis.

The Utility Reform Network, a ratepayer advocacy group, on Thursday repeated earlier calls for Peevey to leave the CPUC immediately. Here's the group's statement, released after the commission president's announcement:

TURN today renewed its calls for CPUC President Peevey’s removal or resignation, saying the 3 months remaining in his term were too long for California consumers to wait. President Peevey today announced that he would not seek reappointment, no surprise given the serious allegations of laxity, corruption and bribery that have plagued the Commission under his leadership. But TURN executive director Mark Toney said consumers couldn’t afford 3 more months of back room deals.

“TURN is in no way satisfied that Michael Peevey has announced that he is not seeking reappointment to the CPUC,” Toney said “California consumers cannot afford another three months of Peevey leadership, or the resultant laxity, double-dealing and collusion. TURN renews our calls for him to resign immediately, and for Governor Brown to replace him as president immediately.”

Toney said thousands of Californians have joined TURN’s call to the Governor to clean house by removing Commissioner Peevey from the CPUC Presidency. “Enough is enough,” Toney said, “and consumers have had enough of Mr. Peevey.”