State Regulators Address Public Records

By Published On: February 15, 2013

The California Public Utilities Commission approved a resolution that governs what commission safety documents are deemed public. However, the Feb. 13 resolution narrowed the information that will be released compared to an initial proposal. Regulators voted to “defer broad reforms of our procedures for handling records requests and requests for confidential treatment…to a future formal proceeding, rather than continue to pursue such reforms through the current resolution.” Commissioners said they faced sometimes clashing mandates they need to balance. On one side is the California Publics Records Act requiring transparency and on the other side is the state Public Utilities Code requiring confidentiality of utility records. The Feb. 13 resolution is only one step. The commission agreed to discuss whether or to what extent they should make additional documents publicly accessible in workshops and a subsequent rulemaking. Meanwhile, under this week’s action a number of utility safety-related documents are to become available on the commission’s website , including reports, summaries, and correspondence regarding completed commission safety-related inspections, audits, and investigations. Annual reports that gas operators file with the United States Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration are also set to be public.

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