Public Watchdogs has been granted party status in protest $2.2 Billion Edison bailout
March 23, 2018
At 3:11 PM yesterday, Public Watchdogs received formal notice that its Motion for Party Status in a proposed publicly funded bailout of Southern California Edison before the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has been approved.
In an unusual decision
, CPUC has ruled that Public Watchdogs may intervene in what public advocates have scorned as unlawfully brokered
and publicly funded bailout of Southern California Edison (Edison) and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E).
At issue is a secretly negotiated back-room deal between Edison, the privately owned law firm of Aguirre & Severson, and the Delaware-based non-profit corporation Citizens Oversight, and other parties. The proposed settlement awards more than $2 billion in ratepayer dollars to Edison, and more than $5 million in direct payments to Aguirre & Severson for unspecified legal fees.
Publicly Watchdogs has described the unlawful bailout as a “knife in the back
” of ratepayers. According to Public Watchdogs Executive Director, Charles Langley, “The attorneys in this case have stabbed the public in the back in exchange for a $5.4 million dollar payday.”
CPUC rarely grants late-filed requests for party status, but made an exception in the instant case of Public Watchdogs because “novel issues are presented by the 2018 settlement agreement…”
Specifically, the ruling invites Public Watchdogs to explore the legal issues involving a proposed utility payment of $5,427,000 in unspecified legal fees to the privately operated law firm of Aguirre & Severson, LLP in exchange for agreeing to a multi-billion dollar bailout of the failed San Onofre Nuclear Generating station at ratepayer expense.
Although the ruling grants “limited status”, it also states that “Nothing in this ruling prevents Public Watchdogs from submitting public comment regarding this proceeding as to the remaining issues raised in its motion for party status.”
On March 12, 2018, Aguirre & Severson, Citizens Oversight, and other parties teamed up with the attorneys at Edison to stop the motion for party status with a Joint Response
to deny party status.
Yesterday’s ruling by CPUC defeats the team effort of Southern California Edison, Aguirre & Severson and Citizens Oversight to silence the public’s voice before the Commission.
Interested parties are invited to help fund Public Watchdogs’ efforts to expose the unlawful activities of Southern California Edison here