Records The California Public Utilities Commission Didn’t Want You to See! 

San Bruno Today, we publish 120,746 emails and attachments exchanged between Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

The 70,157 emails and 50,589 attachments are provided for free as a public service in a new database that allows for three different types of keyword searches and seven ways to conduct advanced searches.

Most relate to the San Bruno, California, pipeline disaster that killed eight people, injured 66, and destroyed 38 homes in September 2010.

These records were released last year by PG&E after a judge demanded the CPUC release the public records. Instead, they were published by PG&E in a format that has proven to be nearly impossible for media, legal researchers, and the public to navigate.

PG&E Criminal Trial

Pacific Gas & Electric will faces 13 criminal counts related to the San Bruno pipeline explosion in a trial scheduled to begin on June 14.  To examine the records yourself, you can access our new database here or by visiting our website.

Solar, Nuclear Records Included

Not all of the PG&E-CPUC emails are about the San Bruno pipeline disaster and its aftermath. Others include:

  • 3,879 with nuclear energy content
  • 4,540 with solar energy content
  • 291 emails sent by CPUC Commissioner Michel P. Florio
  • 194 sent by CPUC Commissioner Catherine J.K. Sandoval
  • 22 sent by Michael J. Picker, president of the CPUC since December 23, 2014.

Technical details

  • Volume of extracted text: 32 million lines of text, 3Gb.
  • Date of first email: 1/3/10 9:17 PM (Mail#1)
  • Date of last email: 9/24/14 3:29 PM (Mail#70157)
  • By default, the records are displayed starting from the oldest.

The new C&BP database architecture will allow other public records databases in the future to be made available in the new searchable format.

If you have a suggestion about public records you believe should be more widely available, please send us your idea to: [email protected].


Scott Peterson is executive director of the Checks and Balances Project, a national watchdog blog that seeks to hold government officials, lobbyists and corporate management accountable to the public. Funding for C&BP comes from clean energy philanthropies and donors.