EDITORS: Please do not use
"Pacific Gas and Electric" or "PG&E" when
referring to PG&E Corporation or its National Energy Group.
The PG&E National Energy Group is not the same company as Pacific
Gas and Electric Company, the utility, and is not regulated by the
California Public Utilities Commission. Customers of Pacific Gas
and Electric Company do not have to buy products or services from
the National Energy Group in order to continue to receive quality
regulated services from Pacific Gas and Electric Company.
UPDATE: PG&E ASKS COURT FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION AGAINST DIRECTOR
OF OFFICE OF RATEPAYER ADVOCATES
ORA Seeks to Circumvent
Bankruptcy Court Jurisdiction with Request of Documents; Information
Should Be Requested Following Normal Bankruptcy Procedures
SAN FRANCISCO - Pacific
Gas and Electric Company has asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for
a preliminary injunction against the director of the California
Public Utilities Commission Office of Ratepayers Advocates (ORA),
noting the ORA "seeks to circumvent the Bankruptcy Court's jurisdiction
over administration of the estate and the plan of reorganization
(POR) confirmation process."
The ORA requested the utility
produce the documents in a proceeding opened by the CPUC to review
the relationship between the utility and its parent, PG&E Corporation.
The data request covers documents related to the proposed POR, including
information relating to settlement offers with generators, copies
of Board of Directors meeting minutes relating to bankruptcy discussions
and financial work papers relating to the POR.
In its filing, Pacific Gas
and Electric Company noted "such documents would typically be produced,
if at all, only in response to a discovery request related to plan
confirmation objections. This is information that, if discoverable
at all, is properly requested only through discovery in this bankruptcy
case and supervised by this Court."
While some of these requests
might be allowed, at least in modified form, in discovery supervised
by the Bankruptcy Court and subject to timing, rules, relevance
and privileges determined by bankruptcy rules, they are inappropriate
in a collateral proceeding outside the Court's jurisdiction where
entirely different and conflicting interests may be served.
In a letter to the utility,
ORA said they "would use the requested information . . . in both
the OII and the bankruptcy proceeding." The preliminary injunction
seeks to prevent the director of ORA from requesting and obtaining
the documents because the data request is an attempt to circumvent
the Bankruptcy Court's exclusive jurisdiction to administer the
case and control the plan confirmation process.
A hearing on the preliminary
injunction request is scheduled for February 4, 2002.