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UCAN to Keep Sharp Eye on SDG&E; Brass

After successfully lobbying the state Public Utilities Commission to slash San Diego Gas & Electric’s rates by $136 million, the Utility Consumers Action Network (UCAN) announced Monday that it intends to begin monitoring the “quality of management” at SDG&E.;

“We spent 18 months and $100,000 in attorney’s fees alone, but it brought a huge rate case decision” that will reduce electric and gas rates for SDG&E; customers, UCAN Executive Director Michael Shames said Monday.

UCAN, the 60,000-member organization that draws its membership from SDG&E;'s customer ranks, hopes its role in the rate decision will generate further support in San Diego County, said Shames.

UCAN must now reach out to “customers who have been improperly terminated or who have received exorbitant bills but who have no adequate access to SDG&E;,” said Robert Simmons, a University of San Diego law professor who recently joined UCAN as a board member.

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“We have to find other ways to get our word out,” said Shames, who acknowledged that UCAN has been hurt by its inability to include its printed material in SDG&E;'s monthly billing notices until after the U.S. Supreme Court determines whether another utility can deny the use of its billing envelopes to a Northern California consumer group. UCAN, founded in 1983, built its 60,000 membership largely through such billing notices.


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