Dorian Hargrove 3:30 p.m., Sept. 16
UCAN's Request for Relief Tentatively Turned Down
Financially troubled watchdog Utility Consumers' Action Network (UCAN) has been turned down in its request for interim relief by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). On Aug. 17, UCAN asked the CPUC to establish an emergency fund allowing UCAN to recover its costs in the general rate case proceeding of San Diego Gas & Electric before intervenor fees are normally awarded. Alternatively, UCAN asked that it be awarded intervenor compensation at the same time the CPUC makes a decision in the rate case, instead of later. UCAN cited expenses it has incurred in dealing with whistleblowers' complaints, a grand jury subpoena, and questions about restricted funds. Today (Sept. 21), Administrative Law Judge John S. Wong denied the request. His decision has to be approved by the commission. Wong said that the law is clear that intervenor fees can only go to those making a "substantial contribution" to a pending case, but this has to be determined in the conventional time frame.
The question now is whether UCAN can survive, and whether certain people formerly in UCAN and currently on its board really want it to survive. UCAN spent enormous sums on attorneys and its board is now paying a criminal attorney large sums. Some think there was a deliberate attempt to drain the assets from UCAN through unnecessary, very high legal fees.
More like this:
- SDG&E challenges UCAN's fee request — Aug. 7, 2013
- State auditor says CPUC's intervenor compensation system OK — July 23, 2013
- UCAN asks $535 an hour compensation for Shames — July 15, 2013
- Fellmeth Joins UCAN Board — Sept. 4, 2012
- Ailing UCAN Asks CPUC for Survival Help — Aug. 17, 2012