CPUC Agrees to More Sunlight on Decision Making

By Published On: June 30, 2006

CPUC Agrees to More Sunlight on Decision Making The California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved a decision that cracks open some closed-door decision making, particularly in renewable energy deals, June 29. The preference is for “open decision making,” said CPUC member Dian Grueneich. She underscored that there will be “greater public access to renewables portfolio standard data than other data” because of the public’s “strong interest” in reducing environmental harm. However, she said, the openness has to be “balanced.” The commission has been criticized for the extent of its closed-door decision making. That charge is led by the California Energy Commission (Circuit, June 23, 2006). Grueneich stood firm in her decision, saying that the CPUC’s legal mandate is different from that of its sister agency. “Confidentiality is always a difficult issue in a democracy,” said commissioner John Bohn. He expects there to be a lot of discussions with the Energy Commission on the two agencies’ differing views and statutory parameters on where to draw the line between public decision making and protecting data that utilities deem “market sensitive” in the development of the Integrated Energy Policy Report update. “What we don’t want to do is so inhibit discussion that the real data gets lost,” he added. Commissioner Geoffrey Brown said he expected utilities to act in good faith and not inhibit meaningful cross-examination in hearings by keeping important information out of reach. The decision – a response to SB 1488, which calls on the CPUC to reviews its confidentiality policy – reiterates that the utility calling for secrecy bears the burden of proving its need. The ruling includes a detailed matrix on confidentiality parameters. Information stamped confidential will be kept secret for three to five years from the date of a contract. The decision is the first of two rulings on the protective order proceeding. The second part, which will commence in 30 days, will, among other things, define market participant and non-market participant

Share this story

Not a member yet?

Subscribe Now