Rightly or wrongly, Assemblymember Jerry Hill of San Mateo really lit into the lame-duck California Public Utilities Commission yesterday over its failure to effectively regulate PG&E before the San Bruno gas explosion. (Watch video of the full exchange between Hill and CPUC President Michael Peevey, from Fox Reno.)
Speaking before the gathered CPUC commissioners, Hill opened with the following remarks:
"I wanted to ask CPUC to conduct its own independent audit and inspection of PGE records and pipes to scrutinize the safety of our natural gas infrastructure...and to verify that the information they are gathering is accurate. Unfortunately, it's hard for me to make these requests today because I do not have the confidence this commission will do its job. This commission has failed the people of California and especially the people of my district with its culture of complacency."
At that point, commission president Michael Peevey, a former president of Southern California Edison, rang a little bell, interrupting Hill. But you really need a gavel for that sort of thing; Hill spoke over the tinkling.
Peevey then defended the CPUC response to the tragedy, saying that he found Hill's lack of failure to mention the committee's post-explosion investigation "contemptible."
They then went at it another round.