California Public Utilities Commission

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) regulates privately owned electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water, railroad, rail transit, and passenger transportation companies.  The CPUC serves the public interest by protecting consumers and ensuring the provision of safe, reliable utility service and infrastructure at reasonable rates while supporting environmental enhancement and a healthy California economy.   The CPUC is responsible for reviewing the SNGS application for a Certification of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) to build the proposed gas storage facility.  Part of this responsibility includes conducting an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the proposed gas storage facility.  The CPUC’s final EIR stated  that the project had “significant and unavoidable” impacts including risks of explosion, fire, and contamination of the groundwater.  Their decision depends on whether or not the benefits of SNGS’ facility to the greater community is worth imposing the potential risks on the Avondale-Glen Elder neighborhoods.  On July 12th, 2012 the CPUC, in a 3 to 2 vote, denied SNGS the Certification of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) to build the gas storage facility.   This decision can be appealed by SNGS within 30 days.

In the vote, Commissioners Florio, Sandoval, and Ferron, based on safety and other concerns, denied the CPCN to SNGS (see video of Ferron’s statement here).  They also questioned whether or not the facility was truly necessary to provide energy security to Sacramento and decided the potential health and environmental risks were not worth the benefits.

In dissent, President of the CPUC, Peevey, said that, among other things, the decisions of Florio, Sandoval, and Ferron were based on “faulty logic.”  Commissioner Peevey voted in favor of the CPCN.  Commissioner Simon gave a statement lasting more than half an hour in support of SNGS’ proposal and granting the CPCN.  He too voted in favor of granting the CPCN.

The CPUC website can be found here.