No surprise, CPUC president calls it quits

by Steve Blum • , ,

The California Public Utilities Commission will have a new president next year. Michael Peevey, head of the commission for the past 12 years, announced yesterday that his current term will be his last

I originally planned to make the following announcement at the CPUC’s regularly-scheduled Voting Meeting on October 16th, but instead I am moving the announcement to today to state that I will not seek reappointment to the CPUC when my term expires at the end of this year. Twelve years as President is enough. The Governor, of course, will make a decision as to my successor in due time. I will speak more extensively regarding my terms as CPUC President at the last Voting Meeting of the year on December 18th.

It’s hardly a shock. There was little expectation that he’d be named to a third term. Peevey has been hammered in recent weeks for what appears to be a cosy (to put it politely) relationship with Pacific Gas and Electric, one of the biggest utilities the CPUC regulates. He was formerly the president of Southern California Edison and originally appointed by then-governor Gray Davis to fix the state’s electricity system, which was in something of a meltdown in 2002.

Arguably, Peevey did just that, or at least played a major role in finding and implementing solutions, and was reappointed to a second 6 year term in 2008 by Arnold Schwarzenegger. He’s also helped champion independent broadband infrastructure projects, among other good works. Nevertheless, Peevey has always carried a reputation of being friendly to big, incumbent utilities and lately has seemed increasingly out of step with the other 4 commissioners, all of whom were appointed by Jerry Brown.

No word yet on a replacement, and it could be the end of the year before Brown decides who it will be.