About 300 people attended an Oakdale town hall meeting on July 23. The subject -- Pacific Gas & Electric's "departing load" tariff imposed upon 8,000 noncustomers for nonservice in the Stanislaus-San Joaquin-Merced area.
Audience members voiced displeasure, promised not to pay this tariff and complained about a lack of response from PG&E and the California Public Utilities Commission. The CPUC was further chastised for unprofessionalism.
The Modesto Irrigation District and the Publicly Owned Utility Customer Association, a private group, reasonably addressed the issues at hand. PG&E, however, claimed it was legally bound by CPUC regulations to collect the tariff. Interestingly, PG&E had urged the CPUC for years to impose this tariff.
Glaringly absent was CPUC representation, despite an invitation. Perhaps the commissioners felt no need to work with the public. The CPUC's attitude and approval of this outrageous tariff suggest that it should review its own mission statement, which says in part, "Above all, the Commission is responsible for ensuring that California utility customers have safe, reliable utility service at reasonable rates."
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Oakdale has received quality electricity from MID at competitive rates. Maybe the CPUC considers the monthly tariff for nonservice a "reasonable rate," or is penalizing noncustomers for seeking better service at cheaper rates in a deregulated system.