Former City Attorney Mike Aguirre had a hunch: The California Public Utilities Commission had been taken over by the companies it purports to regulate.

Aguirre began filing lawsuits and asking questions. Among the questions: Why did Southern California Edison’s failure to safely operate its San Onofre nuclear plant leave customers on the hook for $3.3 billion?

Voice of the Year

Another question Aguirre asked last year: What did Michael Peevey, then head of the Public Utilities Commission and a former top Edison official, know about this seemingly raw deal?

“I’m not here to answer your goddamn question. Now shut up. Shut up,” Peevey said to Aguirre in a memorable exchange.

Aguirre, of course, didn’t shut up.

Since then, the string Aguirre began pulling has unraveled story after story, many of them told this year by Jeff McDonald in a series of damning reports for the Union­-Tribune.

For instance, it turns out Peevey held secret talks with Edison officials at a super nice hotel in Poland.

Now Aguirre and law partner Maria Severson are seeking emails that might show what hand Gov. Jerry Brown’s office had in the San Onofre deal.

Aguirre said he would like to take credit for being insightful, but he had help from whistleblowers and also ended up asking many of the right questions by accident.

“It just kind of turned into an ‘Ay yai yai where does it end?’” Aguirre said.

We may not know for months to come, but much of what we find out will be thanks to Aguirre’s refusal to shut up about the whole thing.

This is part of our Voice of the Year package, profiling the people who drove the biggest conversations in San Diego this year.

Ry Rivard was formerly a reporter for Voice of San Diego. He wrote about water and power.

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