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Grand jury probes PG&E ties with CPUC
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal grand jury is investigating ties between executives with California’s largest utility and state regulators, a newspaper reported Friday.

The San Francisco Chronicle said it’s the latest probe involving relations between Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and regulators with the California Public Utilities Commission since a PG&E pipeline explosion in 2010 killed eight people in suburban San Francisco.

A federal investigation after the blast concluded that lax oversight by the utilities commission was partly to blame.

Federal investigations last year charged the utility with violating safety laws and obstructing justice in connection with the pipeline blast. In April, the panel approved a record $1.6 billion penalty against PG&E in connection with the disaster.

The explosion prompted state and federal investigations into allegations of back-channel dealings between PG&E executives and the utility commission’s former head, Michael Peevey, whose term expired earlier this year. Peevey has not commented publicly on the probes.

PG&E officials say company officials involved in the relations with regulators no longer work for the utility.

In the letter disclosing the grand jury investigation, two assistant U.S. attorneys told PG&E lawyers that they plan to use some of the evidence from the probe in the prosecution of the San Bruno case against the company. They did not provide further details.

PG&E spokesman Greg Snapper told the Chronicle in a statement: “We’ve publicly reported that state and federal attorneys have begun investigations in connection with these communications. We’re going to keep cooperating with officials as the process moves forward.”