PG&E Co. was ordered by an administrative law judge in San Francisco on Tuesday to give the city of San Bruno by Jan. 30 almost all of 65,000 emails exchanged between the utility and the California Public Utilities Commission between 2010 and 2014.
San Bruno had asked for release of the messages to determine whether the utility had been seeking an “unfair advantage” through back-channel communications with commissioners and staff in ongoing proceedings.
The city, which sustained a fatal explosion of a PG&E pipeline that killed eight people in September 2010, alleges that several sets of previously released emails show a cozy and improper relationship between the agency and the utility.
PG&E had already agreed last month to release the full set of emails to the commission by mid-February and had said the agency should develop and manage a process for “open public access” to the messages.
But Tuesday's order by CPUC Administrative Law Judge Amy Yip-Kikugawa requires PG&E to provide the messages directly to San Bruno as well as to the commission and moves the deadline to Jan. 30.
PG&E “has not explained why San Bruno must obtain these e-mails from the Commission (after a process has been established), rather than directly from PG&E. Indeed, waiting until after the commission receives the e-mails in February unnecessarily delays PG&E's response to San Bruno's data request,” the judge wrote.
Yip-Kikugawa is presiding over an administrative proceeding in which PG&E is seeking approval for an increase in rates for maintaining and modernizing its natural-gas pipelines and storage facilities.