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Industrial Disasters
California PUC losing luster, clout
California PUC losing luster, clout

Recent years have not been kind to the California Public Utilities Commission. Two high-profile disasters—the 2010 San Bruno gas pipeline explosion, which killed eight, and the shutdown last year of the San Onofre nuclear power plant—have turned the spotlight on its oversight of the state's two biggest utilities, Pacific Gas and Electric Co, which owns the pipeline, and Southern California Edison, which owns San Onofre. The PUC doesn't come out shining in either case. Meanwhile its jurisdiction has been systematically eroded by federal law and the advance of technology. Even a decade ago, its authority over telephone service in California was almost unassailable....

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