WESTWOOD—Former president of the Public Utilities Commission Michael Peevey is facing federal investigators working to determine if PUC funds were spent on energy-related research.
Federal Investigators are looking into a 2013 discussion of a PUC grant to fund a new academic center at the University of California Los Angeles, a center that has not been built.
The email discussion of the proposed academic center has been released by the school under the power of the California Public Records Act. The emails confirm a meeting between Peevey and Stephanie Pincetel, the director of UCLA’s California Center for Sustainable Communities.
The center, operated by engineers and researchers, exists to study environmental issues as well as issues of transportation and land use.
Per the email correspondence between Pincetel and Peevey, both parties discussed the funding of research with money won from a then proposed settlement to close the San Onofre nuclear power plant, a settlement that would eventually net $4.7 billion.
These discussions, taking place over a year before the San Onofre settlement was finalized, covered a number of topics, including the construction of an “Energy Data Center” and the scheduling of a meeting to determine how the center would be created and funded.
The email correspondence has led federal investigators to look into whether or not Peevey was taking advantage of his knowledge of the legal proceedings, taking part in exclusive business dealing with funds that had not yet been made public.
Such negotiation violates PUC rules concerning communications with power companies and regulators. Investigators are looking into whether or not Peevey committed bribery and obstruction of justice, among other crimes.
In December 2014, Peevey, who served two six-year terms as president, left the PUC. He publicly maintains that he has committed no crimes.