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Secret PG&E, CPUC talks banned
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The state’s public utilities commission should stop all back-channel contact between commission members and the state’s largest utility for at least a year, a judge ruled Thursday.

Administrative law Judge Hallie Yacknin’s ruling also bans Pacific Gas & Electric Co. officials from communicating with commissioners’ advisers for one year or until an ongoing rate case is settled, whichever comes first.

The ruling comes a week after groups representing rate-payers urged the government to stop all secret contact between the two entities after emails made public showed regulators and utility executives secretly negotiating rate cases and other matters.

PG&E officials did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment Thursday.

Rate-payer groups have also demanded financial penalties be imposed in the case.