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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.

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Comments

Founder Sept. 22, 2012 @ 11:26 a.m.

It is no surprise that the CPUC which is only to happy to allow SoCal ratepayers to be ripped off for 1.2 BILLION Dollars (see http://is.gd/nx8sR9 ) by SCE and SDG&E but they will not let a Pro Ratepayer group get new Leadership...

CA Energy Oversight needs a different kind of "FIXING"...

I think this is a behind the scenes attempt by the Utilities and especially SDG&E to prevent any public discussion or worse for them, a public demand for a REFUND of the over 2 MILLION DOLLARS A DAY WE ARE ALL PAYING FOR ZERO ENERGY...**

No wonder many are calling for the CPUC to be abolished by Governor Brown before they give away the rest of the Sate of CA to the Utilities, because nobody is telling the Public about it...

*Hello Governor Brown, do you serve the People of CA, or just the Big Utilities"?

For more info and comments in a great KPBS article about this see: http://is.gd/7qGGg5

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Don Bauder Sept. 24, 2012 @ 5:04 p.m.

Gov. Brown should sack two of the commissioners -- Peevey and Simon. Best, Don Bauder

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hillcrest_bobby Sept. 23, 2012 @ 3:48 p.m.

I totally agree with Founder. The public is doomed without local consumer advocate....but is any of this really a surprise? The energy companies know the game well - and win. Every time. What is the tipping point where the public is had enough though...hard to say.

I also wouldn't consider it a news flash that lawyers are cratering the world. Like the $100,000 in 'discounted' fees U-T reported Michael Aguirre got paid out from UCAN for what was probably a few days work. Happens all time. Man, I should've gone to law school.

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Founder Sept. 23, 2012 @ 4:10 p.m.

Looking at the number of blog posts, far too many people are more interested in Sports than current events, I guess that is why FOX outbid everyone else for the football games...

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hillcrest_bobby Sept. 23, 2012 @ 4:50 p.m.

Makes sense, because it's much easier than dealing with reality! Been that way since the beginning of time.

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SurfPuppy619 Sept. 23, 2012 @ 10:21 p.m.

Founder-those blog "comments" were robotic spams.....driving me crazy!!! How's NP going???

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Founder Sept. 24, 2012 @ 9:34 a.m.

That is what I wrote, not some spam... Thanks, More late night crime due to all the new bars, think PB w/o the ocean...

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Don Bauder Sept. 24, 2012 @ 5:06 p.m.

Several lawyers took big fees from UCAN -- perhaps enough to drain the organization. Best, Don Bauder

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Founder Sept. 24, 2012 @ 9:36 a.m.

Here is why we need a UCAN or something similar: Energy Upgrade falls far short of goal http://is.gd/9KFhS6 snip According to figures from the Energy Commission, $40.9 million went directly into rebates for homeowners and businesses, while $56.5 million was spent implementing the program, marketing it to the public, training contractors and making sure projects saved as much energy as intended.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Energy-Upgrade-falls-far-short-of-goal-3886924.php#ixzz27PDz7KUy

This is just another way that the CPUC allows the Utilities to drag their feet instead of allowing rate payers to go GREEN ASAP...

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Don Bauder Sept. 24, 2012 @ 5:07 p.m.

Yes, San Diego ratepayers need UCAN -- the way it was run many years ago. Best, Don Bauder

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