Beating the reaper - Page 3

S.F.'s clean energy program clears a key milestone in its race against Prop. 16


Mark Leno remarked to the Guardian in the wake of the debacle. The CPUC later determined that any opt-outs solicited by PG&E's illegal mailers were void.

At a May 20 meeting, the CPUC bolstered restrictions prohibiting PG&E from printing false statements about CCA programs in mailers but made no move to impose penalty fines. City officials characterized the decision as falling short of the action needed to halt the utility's attempts to sabotage Bay Area CCAs.

"We would expect the CPUC to tell them to cooperate," Harrington told the Guardian. "What the CPUC said was 'you can't lie.'"

Meanwhile it's up to the CPUC to decide whether to honor PG&E's request for a $4 billion rate hike, which will amount to an average 30 percent increase on customer bills over three years. "They're not always guaranteed to get what they ask for," CPUC spokesperson Andrew Kotch noted. Public hearings on the increase are coming soon, with a final decision scheduled for December.

"There have been other sizable rate increases and PG&E keeps coming back for more," says Dwight Cocke of The Utility Reform Network (TURN), which is also part of the Prop. 16 opposition campaign. "Up until recently, PG&E was shutting off 15,000 customers per month" for nonpayment, forcing customers to pay extra deposits and reconnect fees to get their electric service back.

"For a lot of people on fixed incomes and low incomes," he said, "it spirals out of control."

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