Report 2016-104 Recommendation 4 Responses

Report 2016-104: California Public Utilities Commission: It Should Reform Its Rules to Increase Transparency and Accountability, and Its Contracting Practices Do Not Align With Requirements or Best Practices (Release Date: September 2016)

Recommendation #4 To: Public Utilities Commission

To avoid the appearance of inappropriate relationships, the CPUC should adopt a policy to prohibit commissioners from accepting gifts from regulated utilities and energy companies and free travel from organizations with significant ties to regulated utilities and other parties with financial interests in CPUC proceedings.

Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From November 2017

The Commission approved this change to the Commissioner Code on Conduct on August 10, 2017.

  • Completion Date: August 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Pending

As we explained in our comments on the CPUC's one-year response to this recommendation, the CPUC adopted a change to its commissioner code of conduct that encourages commissioners to consider whether the acceptance of a gift of travel, lodging, or meals would give an appearance of an inappropriate relationship with a regulated utility, organizations with significant ties to a regulated utility, and other interested persons with financial interest in commission proceedings. However, the encouragement to consider appearances is not fully aligned with our recommendation. Specifically, our recommendation directed the CPUC to prohibit gifts of any kind from regulated utilities and energy companies and free travel from organizations with significant ties to regulated utilities or other interested parties. The CPUC's new code of conduct falls short of this standard.

  • Auditee did not address all aspects of the recommendation

1-Year Agency Response

The Commission approved this change to the Commissioner Code on Conduct on August 10, 2017.

  • Completion Date: August 2017
  • Response Date: September 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Pending

The CPUC adopted a change to its commissioner code of conduct that encourages commissioners to consider whether the acceptance of a gift of travel, lodging, or meals would give an appearance of an inappropriate relationship with a regulated utility, organizations with significant ties to a regulated utility, and other interested persons with financial interest in commission proceedings. However, the encouragement to consider appearances is not fully aligned with our recommendation. Specifically, our recommendation directed the CPUC to prohibit gifts of any kind from regulated utilities and energy companies and free travel from organizations with significant ties to regulated utilities or other interested parties. The CPUC's new code of conduct falls short of this standard.

  • Auditee did not address all aspects of the recommendation

6-Month Agency Response

This recommendation was referred to the Policy and Governance Committee on October 7th by the Executive Director, Tim Sullivan. The referral was for the Commission to adopt a policy concerning out-of-state travel for Commissioners that is paid for by non-profits or other entities with ties to regulated entities.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 6/30/2017
  • Response Date: April 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending


60-Day Agency Response

This recommendation was referred to the Policy and Governance Committee on October 7th by the Executive Director, Tim Sullivan. The referral was for the Commission to adopt a policy concerning out-of-state travel for Commissioners that is paid for by non-profits or other entities with ties to regulated entities.

  • Estimated Completion Date: 6/30/2017
  • Response Date: November 2016

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending


All Recommendations in 2016-104

Agency responses received are posted verbatim.