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US: New judge chosen to oversee PG&E antitrust suit amid lobbying concerns

 |  September 25, 2014

A California state agency has reportedly chosen a new judge to preside over a lawsuit accusing Pacific Gas and Electric Co of rate-rigging amid concerns of a lobbying campaign that may have tainted the original choice.

The California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates PG&E, said Wednesday that it chose a new judge to oversee the $1 billion case, noting that a “cloud of suspicion” was cast over the original judge-choosing process. A PG&E executive is reportedly suspected to have launched a lobbying campaign to influence the Commission’s judge selection.

Reports say the executive is suspected of using PG&E’s support of a project backed by the Commission’s president to manipulate the process.

The Commission has reportedly chosen a new judge after emails emerged last week that reportedly showed correspondences between PG&E executives and Commission officials.

The lawsuit surrounds PG&E’s plans to have its customers pay for $1.3 billion worth of gas-safety improvements following a fatal 2010 pipeline accident.

Full content: SFGate

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