Jeff McDonald reports through our daily paper that County Supervisor Dianne Jacob will ask for state and federal investigations of Sempra Energy, prompted by allegations that Sempra Energy bribed Mexican officials involved in the Energia Costa Azul natural gas project in Baja California.
In a later report by 10news.com, "Sempra replied, 'We are disappointed that she has embraced these baseless claims, but not surprised, given her history as a longtime, outspoken critic of the company.' "
As a director of the County Air Pollution Control District, Jacob was behind a County Counsel lawsuit against Sempra Energy's local power utility San Diego Gas and Electric Company. That civil suit was later dismissed as federal prosecutors brought the criminal matter United States of America v. SDG&E in 2007, where SDG&E and several individual defendants were found guilty of improper asbestos removal in Lemon Grove. The matter was later dismissed before re-trial, despite a federal law within the Clean Air Act that required more stringent California asbestos handling and disposal regulations to be applied in the case.
California's Public Utilities Commission has prohibited SDG&E from passing on legal costs concerning the demolished Encanto Gas Holder site and USA v. SDG&E onto SDG&E ratepayers.
Earlier last month, Fitch Ratings made downward adjustments to SDG&E and Sempra Energy debt and equity ratings, along with issuing a Negative Outlook advisory on Sempra and its owned public utilities. There appears to be no direct connection with Jacob's call for investigations and Fitch's ratings downgrade and advisory, but Fitch Ratings may issue statements to clarify any possible relationship between the two.