SAN FRANCISCO–The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Thursday issued a ruling by an Administrative Law Judge finding that Southern California Edison engaged in 10 unreported ex parte communications between March 26, 2013, and June 17, 2014, that could lead to penalties of up to $50,000 per day for each offense.
One party estimated total penalties could be in excess of $34 million. The CPUC could also impose other sanctions, not necessarily monetary.
The ruling by Administrative Law Judge Melanie Darling orders Edison no later than August 20, 2015, to show cause as to why it should not be sanctioned for the 10 unreported ex parte communications with the CPUC. Further, the ruling orders Edison to show cause why it should not be found to have violated the CPUC’s ethics Rule 1.1 on one or more occasions; and if Rule 1.1 violations are established, why Edison should not be held in contempt of the CPUC and be subject to additional penalties and sanctions. The communications are related to possible resolution of some cost allocations at issue as a result of the January 31, 2012, shutdown of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.
Administrative Law Judge Darling’s Ruling imposes a ban on all parties and interested persons from making any individual ex parte communications regarding the subject matter of the Ruling. However, all parties are permitted to submit statements recommending actions the CPUC could take.
“ALJ Darling’s Ruling reflects meticulous analysis of the relevant law, CPUC rules and decisions, facts, and record submitted,” Said Commissioner Catherine J.K. Sandoval, the Commissioner assigned to the proceeding.