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As Part of Public Commitment to Openness, PG&E Provides CPUC Copies of 65,000 Emails

01/30/2015

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Today, as part of a public commitment made in December 2014, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) provided the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) with copies of 65,000 emails exchanged between the company and its regulator over a nearly five-year period beginning in 2010.

The emails were the subject of a voluntary review PG&E undertook in 2014. As a result of this review, PG&E self-reported apparent violations related to CPUC rules governing ex parte communications and took immediate and definitive action to address these issues.

On Dec. 22, PG&E publicly announced that it would voluntarily provide the CPUC with copies of the 65,000 emails for distribution by the CPUC to interested parties. An administrative law judge with the CPUC later directed PG&E to also provide copies directly to certain interested parties.

PG&E's Commitment

PG&E Chairman & CEO Tony Earley said:

"We want all of our customers to know that we have learned critical lessons from this experience and are working to develop a world-class regulatory compliance model that reflects the highest ethical standards. We're absolutely committed to doing the right thing and to interacting with our state regulator in a transparent and ethical manner that upholds both the letter and spirit of the law and the company's own Code of Conduct at all times.

"In this spirit, we can all agree that the business of the Commission is the business of the public. We support open access to communications taking place between the Commission and all parties. In fact, we have publicly urged the CPUC to support a fully transparent process by adopting new protocols for open electronic access to communications between the Commission and all parties who are interacting with the CPUC.

“While we will make no excuses about unethical conduct, it is critical for the public to know that, as a regulated entity serving the needs of 16 million Californians, it is entirely appropriate for us, as well as other groups, to communicate with our regulators on an ongoing basis. In fact, as part of our commitment to becoming the safest gas company in America, we have a responsibility to the public to do just that.

“The vast majority of the 65,000 communications have been completely appropriate, but in those few instances when they were not, we took immediate and definitive action. When we first discovered violations of the CPUC ex parte rules, we self-reported them, we held senior-level officers accountable, and we are making significant changes designed to prevent this from happening again. We're also fully cooperating with independent law enforcement investigations of this matter.”

Concrete Actions Taken

PG&E has already taken numerous actions as part of its effort to achieve the highest level of ethics and compliance possible:

  • Three officers are no longer employed by the company;
  • A new senior vice president of regulatory relations was named with the charge to overhaul PG&E's regulatory affairs department;
  • The company created a new position of Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer, whose mandate is to help oversee compliance with all requirements governing PG&E's interactions with the CPUC. The position reports to the CEO and to the Audit Committee of the PG&E Board of Directors. A search is currently underway to find the best person for the job;
  • PG&E engaged former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior Ken Salazar, a partner in the WilmerHale law firm, as special counsel on regulatory compliance matters to assist in developing a best-in-class regulatory compliance model. Salazar has served as Colorado Attorney General, United States Senator, and Secretary of Interior. Salazar and his team have helped PG&E:
    • Define the position of a company-wide Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer, with direct reporting authority to the CEO and to the Audit Committee of the PG&E Board of Directors.
    • Helped overhaul the rules of engagement with Commissioners and Staff at the CPUC, and for reporting and monitoring ex parte communications. These new rules of engagement have been communicated to employees within the Lines of Business that have any reason to interact with the Commission, on even an occasional basis.
    • Helped develop new training, including web-based and instructor-led courses, on interacting with the CPUC. The training, which is underway, highlights compliance with ex parte rules and requirements.
    • Engaged in bench-marking exercises to identify best practices for ethics and compliance.
    • Participated in the Chairman's Ethics Council meeting to which all PG&E employees were invited to encourage employees to raise ethics and compliance issues directly to senior management.

About PG&E

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with more than 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to nearly 16 million people in Northern and Central California. For more information, visit www.pge.com/ and www.pge.com/en/about/newsroom/index.page.

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Source: Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Keith Stephens, 415-973-5930

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