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California Utility Executive Pay Could Get Scrutiny

California chief utility regulator Michael Peevey signaled Thursday that he will attempt to have the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) investigate the status of executive compensation at the state's major private-sector utilities, which are all among the nation's largest.

"One of the items that came up during the course of the [Southern California Edison Co. general rate case] proceeding was executive compensation at Edison, and by implication, at other utilities," said Peevey. He said he wants to "explore over the next month or so...executive compensation," perhaps through a statewide proceeding.

Peevey said there may be no problems with senior utility executive salaries and perks, but the issue also "may demand greater scrutiny by us than has been the case in the past." He said he wanted to put everyone "on alert" that the five-member regulatory panel may be looking at senior executive compensation soon.

"In these economic times, everyone has to tighten their purse strings, and there is no reason that utility executives should be exempt from that," Peevey said.

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