Hearing Office of the California Energy Commission

Hearing Adviser's Office and the Regulatory Process

Hearing Advisers are attorneys who perform work that is mandated by the Warren-Alquist Act and the Commission's regulations. In addition to siting cases, in which proposals to build power plants are reviewed, Hearing Advisers also provide legal advice to Commissioners on a variety of other matters, including complaint or investigation proceedings, proposed regulations, and policy matters. The following is an outline of the work performed by Hearing Advisers on siting cases.

Siting Cases

What we call a "siting case" is, in fact, a series of events and activities that begin with the filing of an Application for Certification by a power plant developer. Typically, it costs approximately $350-$500 million to develop and construct a power plant in California. Part of this cost (about $1 million) goes toward the expense of the environmental, public health and safety, and engineering review of the proposal that is conducted by the Energy Commission. The developer or Applicant must obtain a license (or certification) from the Commission to ensure that the project complies with all applicable federal, state, and local laws. Considering the expense of investing in this process, Applicants generally hire experienced corporate attorneys, environmental consultants, and engineers to represent them during siting case proceedings.

Staff is an "independent party" in siting cases. They are represented by attorneys from the Energy Commission's Chief Counsel's office. In some cases, the Assistant Chief Counsel represents Staff at siting case hearings and in other events.

The siting process is adversarial in nature. It is based on an adjudicatory model in which Applicant and Staff are advocates for their positions and the Hearing Adviser sitting with the Committee acts in a quasi-judicial manner as the fact-finder and decision-maker (akin to a judge or as we are called in other agencies, an Administrative Law Judge or Hearing Officer.) In most cases, there are additional entities (such as other governmental agencies, conservation groups, labor unions, competing developers, or corporations) and individuals that participate as parties by formally intervening in the proceeding. (Commission regulations describe the intervention process.) All conferences and hearings in siting cases are transcribed by court reporters and are open to members of the public. Transcripts of the proceedings constitute part of the official record and are used by Hearing Advisers in drafting Orders and Decisions.

Hearing Officer Contact Information
Contact Phone E-mail
Hearing Offiers
Chief Hearing Officer - Paul Kramer 916-654-5103 Paul.Kramer@energy.ca.gov
Hearing Officer - Ken Celli 916-651-8893 Ken.Celli@energy.ca.gov
Hearing Officer - Raoul Renaud 916-651-2020 Raoul.Renaud@energy.ca.gov
Hearing Officer - Susan Cochran 916-654-3965 Susan.Cochran@energy.ca.gov
Hearing Officer - Gary Fay
(Retired Annuitant)
Legal Secretarial Support Staff
Secretary - Maggie Read 916-654-3893 Maggie.Read@energy.ca.gov
Staff Services Analyst - Cody Goldthrite 916-654-3895 Cody.Goldthrite@energy.ca.gov