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ROSEMEAD, Calif., Feb. 9, 2015 — Southern California Edison (SCE) today submitted a notice to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) regarding a conversation with a CPUC commissioner in 2013. SCE recently strengthened its system of policies and practices across the company regarding contacts with the commission.
SCE’s ex parte notice filed today with the CPUC references a conversation Stephen Pickett, former SCE executive vice president of External Relations, had in March 2013 with Michael Peevey, then president of the CPUC. While both men were attending an industry event, Peevey initiated a meeting with Pickett to get an update on the status of SCE’s efforts to restart the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (now shut down).
In the course of that meeting, Peevey offered his thoughts on a framework for a possible resolution to issues facing the nuclear plant. SCE did not file an ex parte notice at the time the meeting occurred because, based on Pickett’s recounting of the conversation, SCE’s conclusion was that the communication was one way, from Peevey to Pickett. Under commission rules, a decision-maker’s one-way communication and its content are not to be reported.
Based on further information received from Pickett last week, it now appears that he may have crossed into what could be considered a “substantive” communication to a decision-maker. While it is not clear-cut whether the rules require the meeting to be reported, SCE filed today’s notice.
Taking this action is consistent with the company’s policy to avoid “close calls” when it comes to compliance.
“President Michael Picker and the new leadership of the CPUC have clearly started a new way of doing the public’s business at the commission, and SCE embraces this,” said SCE President Pedro Pizarro. “The policies and procedures that SCE has already put in place fully support this direction.”
The system of policies and procedures revised by SCE starting last year include intensified and ongoing training regarding the CPUC’s ex parte rules and the adoption of internal procedures that exceed current CPUC requirements. Under its strengthened policies, SCE requires advance approval from its legal department if an employee plans to engage with a CPUC decision-maker about a pending proceeding. The policy also imposes limitations on interactions with decision-makers.
“SCE is committed to continually reviewing its policies and procedures, and to making changes whenever necessary, to ensure that the systems we have in place conform to both the letter and the spirit of open and fair communication and compliance with commission rules,” said Pizarro.
About Southern California Edison
An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of nearly 14 million via 4.9 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.