The California Public Utilities Commission has amended its long-standing mission statement, leaving out the idea of ensuring “reasonable rates” for the water and power used by the public.
The change comes as state utility regulators have been under criminal investigation for potentially improper backchannel dealings with the utility companies they oversee and facing multiple lawsuits alleging they failed to protect the people they serve.
For more than 20 years, the agency mission statement said, “The CPUC serves the public interest by protecting consumers and ensuring the provision of safe, reliable utility service and infrastructure at reasonable rates, with a commitment to environmental enhancement and a healthy California economy.”
Under a recent revision, the statement now says: “The CPUC regulates services and utilities, protects consumers, safeguards the environment and assures Californians’ access to safe and reliable utility infrastructure and services.”
Spokeswoman Terrie Prosper said the change has not affected the commission’s dedication to making sure water and power costs are affordable for California consumers.
“Our mission statement is now more concise but our commitment to rates and affordability has not changed,” she wrote in an email. “In fact, we now have a strategic directive on rates and affordability that discusses ensuring that rates are just and reasonable.”
The commission published the strategic directive in August as a way of spelling out its governance policies and practices. The 52-page document addresses how the agency makes decisions and manages safety, compliance and other issues.
The section addressing rates and affordability says the commission “ensures that rates are just and reasonable” and “assures that essential services remain affordable for Californians.”