PUC investigates PG&E for misconduct

Posted by Christine, August 9, 2011

Thanks to the San Jose Mercury News for uncovering this story:

State regulators said Monday that they are investigating allegations that PG&E ignored warnings it had failed to fix serious gas leaks, schemed to bill its customers nearly $2 million in unwarranted costs, let its CEO fly alone on a 25-seat private jet at a cost of $60,000 and engaged in other misconduct — all charges the agency first heard about from this newspaper.

The previously undisclosed accusations are detailed in a 2008 lawsuit by James Redeker, PG&E’s former manager of investigations, who said he was laid off by Kent Harvey, now the company’s chief financial officer, after Redeker reported the misconduct to his superiors.

Without denying the accusations, PG&E quietly settled Redeker’s suit just four months after it was filed, under a confidentiality agreement that prohibited the parties from talking publicly about it. This newspaper discovered the suit while researching a story about utility whistle-blowers and disclosed it to officials with the California Public Utilities Commission.

The newspaper’s discovery of misconduct follows PG&E’s recent report of record profits, as reported in the Wall Street Journal:

PG&E Corp. (PCG) reported second-quarter earnings rose 8.3% on higher rates and said a new chief executive was “imminent” as the utility works on its natural gas pipeline system following a fatal explosion last year.

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