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Lawmakers support governor's choice as head of Public Utilities Commission

December 16, 2009 |  5:27 pm

A state Senate committee voted unanimously today to confirm Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s choice to lead California's utility regulation agency through 2014.
The 5-0 decision means that Michael Peevey is virtually assured of receiving the support of the full Senate and continuing as Public Utilities Commission president, a position he’s held since 2002. Peevey, a former Southern California Edison executive, is married to state Sen. Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge).

Peevey received praise from supporters and from lawmakers for working to ensure the reliability of the state’s electricity grid and promoting environmentally friendly sources of energy. He was questioned about criticism that the commission sometimes inhibits public input.
“There’s no question you are a leader,” said Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento). “There’s no doubt you sometimes ruffle feathers.”
Steinberg last week announced that he would not hold a confirmation hearing for Rachelle Chong, another utility regulator appointed by Schwarzenegger who has led the commission on telecommunications issues and will be forced out of her position at the end of the month.

The Senate leader said today that Chong did not sufficiently look out for the interests of poor and elderly telephone users and had presided over the closing of consumer complaints that had not been resolved.

--Michael Rothfeld in Sacramento