Two new commissioners for the CPUC

Embattled, embroiled and entangled, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is about to get a significant change at the top.

Two of its five commissioners are stepping down after serving their respective six-year terms and Gov. Jerry Brown appointed their replacements on Wednesday.

Effective Jan. 1, Mike Florio and Catherine J.K. Sandoval are out and Martha Guzman Aceves and Clifford Rechtschaffen are in — provided they get confirmed by the state Senate.

“Both have sound judgment and a commitment to protecting ratepayers and ensuring safe, reliable and climate-friendly energy in California,” said Brown in a statement.

The moves come as the agency that regulates energy, rail safety, telecommunications and water rates works through a slew of controversies and long-running criticism that its commissioners are too cozy with the utility companies they are charged to oversee. 

The new appointees each come from the governor’s office. Guzman Aceves, 39, has been Brown’s deputy legislative affairs secretary since 2011. Rechtschaffen, 59, has been Brown’s senior adviser on climate, energy and environmental issues for the last five years.

“They’re coming into the PUC with some tough challenges,” said state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, who has reintroduced legislation to reform the commission in the current lawmaking session in Sacramento. “They’ve got their work cut out for them, frankly.”

Among the recent…

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California News
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