Genevieve Shiroma joined the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the state body charged with regulating the state’s utility companies, on February 5. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) appointed Shiroma on January 22, 2019, to replaced Carla J. Peterman, who left the PUC in 2018. Shiroma is serving the remainder of Peterman’s term, which expires in December 2024.
Shiroma was the District 4 representative on the Sacramento Municipal Utility District in Sacramento County, California from 2014 to 2018. She has a B.S. in materials science and engineering from the University of California, Davis.
The California Public Utilities Commission regulates privately owned electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water, railroad, rail transit, and passenger transportation companies in the state. The commission’s role is quasi-executive in that it enforces regulations, quasi-legislative in that it makes them, and quasi-judicial in that it holds hearings and receives testimony on potential regulatory rulings. The commission consists of five members appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate. They serve staggered six-year terms with no term limits.
Public utility commissions, sometimes known as a public service commission, exist in all 50 states. The duties of the position vary from state to state, but their general role involves the regulation of utility services such as energy, telecommunications, and water. Public utility commissioners are elected in 11 states and appointed in the other 39. Of those states that appoint public service commissioners, all but Virginia give the power of appointment to the governor.