BUSINESS

PG&E fined $1M, required to pay as much as $400M for backroom talks with California regulators

11/20/2014 02:29 EST | Updated 01/20/2015 05:59 EST
SAN FRANCISCO - State regulators have decided to fine Pacific Gas & Electric Co. $1 million and require its shareholders to cover as much as $400 million of a gas rate increase because of backroom negotiations between the utility and regulators.

The California Public Utilities Commission voted 3-0 on Thursday in favour of the penalty.

The decision stems from recently released emails that show a PG&E executive and California Public Utilities Commission officials discussing which judge to appoint to a case over gas rates, with the executive objecting to one judge for having a history of being hard on the utility.

Ratepayer advocates have demanded that the commission release tens of thousands of additional emails that they say may also show illegal contact between the CPUC and the state's largest utility. The commission did not address that request.