Utility Watchdog in San Diego
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3405 Kenyon St. Suite 401, San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 696-6966  ●  www.UCAN.org

Last November the San Diego City Council approved a massive 5 year water rate increase. At that time the City’s Public Utilities Department presented only one rate option for the Council to consider.  As a result of the Council approving that rate increase, San Diego’s water rates are now among the highest in the nation.

If the Council had the advice of an independent water rate consultant whose mission was to advocate for the lowest possible water rates consistent with safe and reliable service and who had the ability to examine in detail the water department's assumptions, estimates and forecasts the City Council might have had a second alternative to consider rather than the rate increase that they approved.

UCAN is presently working on a proposal for the City Council to obtain independent expert review of any water department proposal that affects customer’s water rates.  We hope to have something to present to the Council later this year. We will keep you posted on our progress on this issue.



Below is a sampling of the other cases UCAN is currently involved with.

Thank you,


signature-dkelly
Don Kelly
Executive Director
Utility Consumers’ Action Network



UCAN Helps Save $104 Million From SDG&E General Rate Case

In SDG&E’s General Rate Case they requested approval to collect $1.905 Billion through electric rates to operate their utility. UCAN has spent the past two years challenging this request. The CPUC has just approved a settlement that UCAN, SDG&E, and most other parties have agreed to: it provides SDG&E enough money to safely operate their electric grid yet saves ratepayers over $104 million dollars from SDG&E’s original request and stops SDG&E from closing three branch offices. Click here for the Decision.

No Additional Funds to Decommission San Onofre

Since the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) shut down, UCAN has been concerned about SDG&E customers being overcharged for decommissioning costs. In April the Commission agreed with the position of UCAN and other parties to set future ratepayer contributions for the decommissioning at Zero. Click here for more information.

SDG&E Customers Should Not Pay for SDG&E’s Uninsured Wildfire Costs

UCAN and other parties have filed a motion with the CPUC to dismiss SDG&E’s application to raise electric rates to recover $379 Million in uninsured wildfire costs from 2007. Two of these fires were ignited by SDG&E equipment, resulting in two fatalities, significant destruction of property, and thousands of evacuations. UCAN believes that SDG&E’s investors should be responsible for these costs. Click here for the motion.

UCAN Opposes SDG&E’s Attempt to Avoid Testing Existing Gas Pipeline

UCAN is opposed to SDG&E's request to raise customers' rates to collect over $500 million for a new pipeline. UCAN supports the Commission's effort to require SDG&E to test the pipelines they presently have. Before SDG&E gets CPUC approval to build a new, larger and very expensive pipeline they should test the existing pipelines. Click here for UCAN’s Protest.

Fraud Squad

UCAN provides individual help to our members and to the public with utility issues. We saved individual ratepayers from wrongful billing charges and helped several customers maintain or restore service. Over the past year UCAN’s Fraud Squad has worked on over 200 cases, assisting San Diego ratepayers with billing issues, utility shut-offs, and questions about energy, water, and telecomm services. If you have a billing issue, service dispute or have received a shut off notice, put UCAN’s Fraud Squad to work for you! Give us a call at (619) 696-6966 or fill out an online request for assistance form.

Resources

 

  • California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) – “The CPUC regulates privately owned electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water, and transportation companies. The CPUC also regulates the safety of both publicly and privately owned railroad and rail transit companies/agencies, and rail crossings.”
    • Filing Complaints: http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/complaints/
    • Information on the Energy Savings Assistance Program for various electrical utilities including SDG&E, SoCalEdison, PG&E, and others:
    • Proceedings and Related Documents (including ability to subscribe to receive documents from ongoing proceedings): http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/proceedings/
    • Consumer Information, including various state-sponsored discounts and programs to provide access for eligible customers based on disability or financial need: http://consumers.cpuc.ca.gov/default.aspx
    • CPUC Public Advisor’s Office – “The Public Advisor's Office provides procedural information to individuals and groups who want to participate in formal proceedings at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).” http://consumers.cpuc.ca.gov/pao/
  • San Diego City Council Districts and Representatives. – Your City Council Member's office staff can assist citizens with city services, including various utility problems.
  • 2-1-1 San Diego is a facilitator and referral site for a very broad range of public services and programs. Come to UCAN first for utilities issues, but 2-1-1 is outstanding for other referrals and assistance. They maintain a publicly searchable database of over 15,000 community resources, as well as facilitating access to programs such as CalFresh, Medi-Cal and Covered California. From their “About Us” page: “2-1-1 San Diego's mission is to help people by connecting them efficiently to services and provide vital data and trend information for proactive community planning.“ http://www.211sandiego.org/new/index.html
     

 

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Dear UCAN Members and Supporters,

This year has been a busy and memorable year here at UCAN. We have been actively involved in approximately a dozen cases at the California Public Utility Commission and our Fraud Squad has assisted more than 200 utility consumers who were having trouble with power companies, water agencies, and a host of telephone, cable, and other telecomm providers. As we take a moment to look back on this past year, I have never been more proud of the work that we do each day here at UCAN and what we have been able to accomplish for utility ratepayers here in San Diego and across the state.

Here is a sampling of the cases and issues that we are working on:

Thank you,


signature-dkelly
 
Don Kelly
 
San Onofre


Since the revelations of a secret meeting between former CPUC President Michael Peevey and Southern California Edison, UCAN has been supporting other consumer groups in their efforts to overturn the San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station (SONGS) Settlement. Over the past few months The Utility Reform Network (TURN) and the Office of Ratepayer Advocates (ORA), two signatories to the settlement have called for the settlement to be rescinded. Click here for more information.

UCAN is also actively participating in the decommissioning cost estimate proceeding for San Onofre, focusing on protecting ratepayers from excessive costs.


SDG&E General Rate Case

SDG&E originally requested approval to collect $1.905 Billion from rate payers through their 2014 General Rate Case. UCAN has spent the past year opposing this request. In the past month, UCAN, SDG&E, and most of the other parties agreed to a settlement that reduces the amount SDG&E will receive by almost $100 million dollars, stops SDG&E from closing three branch offices, and puts in place multiple safeguards which further limit the amount of money SDG&E can collect from ratepayers for various programs through this proceeding. Click here for more information.

UCAN would like to thank our members who came and spoke at the CPUC’s Public Participation Hearings in June. Your input is truly invaluable to our efforts. Thank you!


Fraud Squad

Over the past year UCAN’s Fraud Squad has worked on over 200 cases, assisting San Diego ratepayers with billing issues, utility shut-offs, and questions about energy, water, and telecomm services. If you have a billing issue, have a question about your bill, or have received a shut off notice, put UCAN’s Fraud Squad to work for you! Give us a call at (619) 696-6966 or fill out an online request for assistance form.

SDG&E Wildfire Costs

UCAN opposes SDG&E’s request for $379 Million of expenses it was not insured for as a result of the 2007 wildfires. Two of these fires were caused by SDG&E equipment. SDG&E’s request attempts to have all ratepayers foot the bill for their uninsured costs. UCAN believes that SDG&E’s investors should be responsible for these costs. UCAN.org will have more information on this case as it develops. Click here to read SDG&E’s application.

SDG&E Electric Vehicle Charging Pilot

UCAN is opposing SDG&E’s request to raise electricity rates by nearly $103 Million to run a “pilot program” to install, own and operate electric vehicle charging stations. UCAN believes the program is TOO BIG, TOO LONG, and TOO EXPENSIVE for San Diego ratepayers. Click here for more information.

     

 

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UCAN is happy to announce that after several years of advocacy the City of San Diego has approved a voluntary program to help low-income water customers. In March, San Diego’s City Council unanimously approved a new low-income assistance program, funded with ratepayer donations, called Help to Others or H2O.

UCAN's efforts began in earnest in January 2014 when we brought together officials from the City’s Public Utilities Department (PUD) and two nonprofits which currently administer a low income assistance program for SDG&E. After that meeting Wilson Kennedy from PUD was assigned to look into what other localities were doing to offer assistance to low income water customers. UCAN would like to recognize and thank Wilson who passionately advocated for this project and worked tirelessly to put this program together and make it a reality.

All water ratepayers in the City of San Diego should be receiving information on this program through an insert in your upcoming bill asking for donations. Mr. Kennedy became the program’s first donor by pledging $500 and I became the second donor by matching Mr. Kennedy’s donation. UCAN encourages all who can to donate to this valuable H2O program.

Below is a sampling of the other cases UCAN is currently involved with.

Thank you,

signature-dkelly
 
Don Kelly
 
No Additional Funds to Decommission San Onofre

Since the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) shut down, UCAN has been concerned about SDG&E customers being overcharged for decommissioning costs. In the current SONGS Decommissioning Cost Estimate proceeding UCAN is advocating that NO additional ratepayer funds be collected from SDG&E ratepayers to decommission San Onofre. Click here for more information.

SDG&E Shareholders Should Pay for SDG&E’s Uninsured Wildfire Costs

UCAN opposes SDG&E’s pending request to recoup $379 Million of expenses it was not insured for during the 2007 Firestorm. Two of these fires were ignited by SDG&E equipment, resulting in two fatalities, significant destruction of property, and thousands of evacuations. SDG&E’s request would increase electricity for all ratepayers to foot the bill for their uninsured costs. UCAN believes that SDG&E’s investors should be responsible for these costs. UCAN.org will have more information on this case as it develops.Click here for UCAN’s protest.

SDG&E Electric Vehicle Charging Pilot

UCAN has been fighting SDG&E’s attempt to have ratepayers pay for a $103 million program for SDG&E to build, own and operate 5,500 electric vehicle charging stations for the next 22 years. UCAN argued that the program was TOO BIG, TOO LONG, and TOO EXPENSIVE for San Diego ratepayers. The CPUC agreed that SDG&E’s request was too big and too expensive. While not reducing the program to the size UCAN advocated, the CPUC did cut 2,000 chargers from SDG&E’s request and $20 million in initial funding that will result in approximately $35 million in ratepayer savings over the life of the program.

Fraud Squad

UCAN provides individual help to our members and to the public with utility issues. In 2015 we saved individual ratepayers from wrongful billing charges and helped several customers maintain or restore service. Over the past year UCAN’s Fraud Squad has worked on over 200 cases, assisting San Diego ratepayers with billing issues, utility shut-offs, and questions about energy, water, and telecomm services. If you have a billing issue, service dispute or have received a shut off notice, put UCAN’s Fraud Squad to work for you! Give us a call at (619) 696-6966 or fill out an online request for assistance form.

About UCAN

UCAN has represented the interests of San Diego County utility customers since 1983. UCAN focuses its efforts on the rates and services of San Diego Gas and Electric Company, telecommunications utilities and the City of San Diego Water Department.

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