DATELINE SAN DIEGO, August 14, 2017
Today, Public Watchdogs announced that it has sent personal letters to every employee at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). Each of the 1056 letters invites the recipients to become a confidential informant and instructs them on how to do it safely.
A name-redacted sample of the hand-signed and hand addressed invitation can be viewed here.
“This is a personal letter from one whistleblower to another,” says the author, Charles Langley. “I want the CPUC employees who are troubled by the rampant pro-utility corruption at CPUC to know that Public Watchdogs is a safe option when they choose to blow the whistle.”
Each letter contains a small photo of deceased CPUC employee Jacqueline Greig, and her daughter, Janessa, both of whom were killed in the September 9, 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion. The letter was mailed August Ninth, exactly 31 days prior to the seventh anniversary of their deaths.
The San Bruno explosion is important, not just because it killed a CPUC employee and her daughter, but also because it is an example of the extreme regulatory capture of the California Public Utilities Commission by the same utilities it is chartered to regulate. In the case of San Bruno, CPUC rewarded Pacific Gas & Electric with hundreds of millions in increased rates to improve safety on the San Bruno pipeline.
But instead of making the urgently needed repairs, PG&E
gave most of the money to its shareholders and top executives (see PG&E diverted safety money for profit, San Francisco Chronicle).
When CPUC fails, people die
According to Public Watchdogs’ Executive Director, Charles Langley, “We expect the photo inside this letter to be deeply disturbing. It is our hope that by sending this troubling photo one month before the seven-year anniversary of the disaster, that we will encourage informants at CPUC to come forward anonymously, safely, and confidentially. The California Public Utilities Commission is the single most important regulatory agency in the State of California. When CPUC fails our economy suffers and people die.”
California’s Third-World regulatory style
At this time, California has a glut of electricity, yet the State’s businesses and consumers continue to pay some of the highest rates in the nation while hosting the worst utility disasters in North America. Recent disasters include the 2007 San Diego Wildfires, the San Bruno Disaster, the radiation leak at the failed San Onofre nuclear station, and most recently the Porter Ranch/San Aliso gas leak.”We know that the vast majority of CPUC employees are people of conscience who do excellent work. We believe that most of their good work is censored, manipulated, punished, and ignored when it conflicts with the corporate agendas of the big utilities and their hand-picked political appointees” says Langley.
Stealing mail is a Federal crime