Attorney Maria Severson on the ouster of Michael Peevey at the California Public Utilities Commission and what's wrong with the Commission's process ...
December, 2014, Attorney Maria Severson was featured in two KPBS interviews with Amita Sharma on the corruption scandals at CPUC, the California Public Utilities Commission. For the video, click the image above and scroll to Minute 11:33. A more in-depth radio story was also aired by KPBS on the same topic on December 29.
In the interview Severson addresses the logical flaw in the San Onofre settlement hearings where Southern California Edison and its hand picked "opponents" determined that ratepayers were responsible for Edison's decision to install nuclear generators that they knew in advance were defective. This is what she said:
"Can you imagine being asked to pay a bill, and you're fighting about how much the bill is before you ever determine whether or not you are on the hook for the bill?"
~ Maria Severson
How SCE used CPUC to avoid responsibilty for its actions ...
The CPUC has never investigated who was responsible for the failure of the defective steam generators at San Onofre. We do know that SCE's enginerers knew in advance that its new design was flawed and would never be approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
We also know that SCE lied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, telling it that it was not installing a new and untested design. We know as a result of this that the design was unlicensed.
The regulators at CPUC are also aware that these flaws posed life-and-death risk to nearly 8 million ratepayers. These regulators know that generators which were supposed to last 40 years lasted less than two years. Yet amazingly, the regulators haven't decided who is at fault. Instead, they have decided who is responsible ... YOU.
Michael Picker to replace disgraced Public Utility Commissioner Michael Peevey. Angry speaker shouts "You belong in jail!"
This radio story chronicles the fall of Michael Peevey, a man who was arguably the most partisan and pro-utility Commissioner in California history. Peevey's legacy includes maintaining some of the highest electric rates in the nation (source) for his former employer, Southern California Edison. His utility-funded supporters -- who spoke at his last public meeting -- thought of him as a candid visionary, but to anyone who questioned Peevey's efforts to conceal evidence, raise electric rates, or mastermind the multi-billion dollar bailouts of Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison, he was widely considered to be a vile, vulgar, and repugnant man who frequently shouted down his opponents.
Predictably, Peevey's last day in office was staged with accolades from his adoring colleagues ... most of whom have benefitted from Peevey's generous cash disbursements. As Marc Lifsher, of the LA Times observed, the microphones at Mr. Peevey's final hearing were shut off when his critics wanted to speak.
Picker is generally seen as a "me-too" clone of Peevey. Picker voted that ratepayers should get stuck with the bill for the $4.7 Billion bailout of the shuttered San Onofre nuclear plant, and participated in the hearings, which inexplicably never determined why the plant's owner, Southern California Edison, appears to have intentionally installed defectiive nuclear generators.