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The watchdog agency is a key part of Governor Gavin Newsom’s anti price-gouging law to protect Californians from gasoline price spikes. The law, Senate Bill X1-2, was approved during a special legislative session in March 2023 and took effect June 2023. SB X1-2 includes transparency and oversight measures that increases oversight of the petroleum industry and provides new resources to support long-term planning efforts.

DPMO was created to monitor petroleum markets and flag potential market manipulation, market power abuse, or market design flaws. Its role is also to identify irregular or illegal behavior and refer any violation of law – including industry misconduct or market manipulation – to the California Attorney General for prosecution. DMPO is the nation’s first independent watchdog agency overseeing the oil and gas industry.

The key implementation activities that the law calls for fall under four areas, which are reporting, assessment, oversight, and investigation. The CEC’s Energy Assessments Division is taking the lead on implementing the reporting and assessment activities. DPMO is responsible for carrying out the activities focused on oversight and investigation.

Cross-Disciplinary Team

Tai Milder started in August 2023 as the inaugural director of DMPO after being appointed by Governor Newsom.

The division consists of a cross-disciplinary team of attorneys, economists, analysts, and investigators. DPMO is building out its leadership staff, having hired a division chief, Ryan McCauley, and a chief economist, Dr. Georgina Moreno, who will join the Division in March.

The division is building a team with experience in the oil and gas industry, as well as specialists in competition law, consumer protection, environmental justice, commodities manipulation, fraud, and other areas of the law. Learn more about the open positions.