California’s Top Utility Regulator to Step Down at Year End
(Bloomberg) -- California’s top utility regulator plans to step down at the end of 2021, resigning five years before her term was set to end.
California Public Utilities Commission President Marybel Batjer said she had reached the “difficult decision” to leave her post and would focus on helping “facilitate the transition of new leadership and better position the state for the reliability and safety challenges of this and subsequent summers and wildfire seasons,” according to an emailed statement.
The California PUC is one of the most powerful regulatory agencies in the state, overseeing the state’s investor-owned utilities as well as telecommunications, water and ride-sharing companies. Last year, the agency approved a bankruptcy plan for PG&E Corp., which racked up billions of dollars of liabilities from wildfires sparked by its equipment.
Batjer’s successor will be tasked with continued oversight of the California utility giant. The agency is investigating PG&E’s role in sparking the Dixie Fire, which exploded in July to become the second-biggest wildfire in state history. The commission will also be charged with ensuring the lights stay on as California continues its transition toward a carbon-free grid. The state suffered brief blackouts in August 2020 and has been scrambling to line up enough power supplies for hot summer evenings.
California Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Batjer to president of the CPUC in July 2019. She was reappointed as president in December 2020, and her term was set to end January 1, 2027.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.