Last fall, Geesman was a leader in a successful campaign to defeat a PG&E-sponsored ballot measure that would have made it more difficult for ratepayers to create public power authorities.
He previously served as president of the Utility Reform Network's board of directors. Geesman declined to talk about his application for a PUC appointment.
Another candidate, Florio, also has a strong connection to the Utility Reform Network. He has served as a staff attorney since 1978, appearing hundreds of times in PUC legal proceedings.
Other PUC candidates include former state Sen. Dean Florez; Catherine Sandoval, a Santa Clara University law professor and telecommunications expert; Jack McNally, a retired business official for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; and Julia Levin, a former state energy commissioner and environmental attorney at the California attorney general's office.
Additionally, Brown could reappoint Ryan, an energy economist and former top Peevey assistant, to a new six-year term.
All of the candidates, except Florez, declined to be interviewed or could not be reached for comment. The governor's office also declined to comment.
Florez, the son of farmworkers who represented the southern San Joaquin Valley until last month, tangled repeatedly with PG&E, the PUC and Peevey over the installation of so-called electricity smart meters on residences.
The meters, his constituents complained, drove up energy bills. Florez cast the only negative vote to confirm Peevey's reappointment in 2008.
"My vote was really about the direction the PUC is going, not necessarily about Mike Peevey," Florez said. "The ratepayers are always the last persons to get served."