UCAN, the Utility Consumers' Action Network
3100 Fifth Avenue, Suite B, Hillcrest
When California's electricity crisis was at its worst, hardly a night went by without Michael Shames, attorney and executive director of UCAN, commenting on the evening news. With over 40,000 San Diego supporters, the nonprofit corporation is the largest regional consumer group of its kind in the world. Using every means legally available, the network's mission is to protect consumers from utility abuse, poor service, and excessive rate hikes. Current key projects include working to lower electricity and natural gas rates, exposing fraudulent telecom-marketing practices, and fighting gasoline price gouging in San Diego. (Don't miss the price reports on hundreds of San Diego gas stations published each week on the website.) Perhaps the organization's biggest heroes are the members of UCAN's Fraud Squad. They offer free dispute-resolution advice on more than 300 of the most commonly reported consumer complaints.