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Environment

Head Of California Public Utilities Commission Leaves A Mixed Legacy

California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey listens to public comments during a meeting of the five-member commission in San Francisco, Dec. 18, 2014.
Jeff Chiu / Associated Press
California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey listens to public comments during a meeting of the five-member commission in San Francisco, Dec. 18, 2014.

The leader of one of California’s most powerful regulatory agencies is resigning at the end of the year. Michael Peevey led his final meeting Thursday as president of the California Public Utilities Commission.

The commission’s public comment stretched well over two hours, with lots of praise for Michael Peevey. Energy consultant Mason Willrich called Peevey visionary and energetic, pragmatic yet firm, and impossible to intimidate.

“Mike Peevey played the catalytic role in California’s recovery from the electricity crisis. In the process, he restored the commission’s stature as one of the nation’s leading economic regulatory bodies,” Willrich said.

But San Bruno City Manager Connie Jackson said Peevey bears responsibility for the 2010 natural gas explosion that killed eight people and destroyed dozens of homes.

“His leadership perpetrated a culture of arrogance, lack of appropriate regulatory relationship, too cozy interaction with the utilities that are supposed to be regulated, inappropriate illegal communication, and the list goes on,” Jackson said.

Peevey led the commission for 12 years. He announced in October that he would not seek reappointment when his current term expires at the end of the year.

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