CPUC Criticized Over Legal Fees Compensation

A fight over power and who gets paid for bringing issues to light

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    In San Diego, a former City Attorney claims the California Public Utilities Commission unjustly failed to compensate his client who served as an advocate for ratepayers.

    Attorney Mike Aguirre says instead, the commission only compensates people who help the utilities at the expense of the ratepayers.

    Aguirre has proposed new legislation, giving the state supreme court the power to decide who gets compensated.

    “We don't want the PUC to be able to strangle or suffocate ratepayer advocates unless they conform to the norm which is to serve the utilities at the expense of the ratepayer," Aguirre said.

    California State Law requires the commission to allow those who intervene to recover a portion of their legal expenses in utility rate hearings if a substantial contribution is made.

    A San Diego Gas & Electric spokesperson says Aguirre's failure to receive compensation for his role in a couple of proceedings may have led to Tuesday's legislation announcement.