Friday, 23 November 2012
Application for rehearing of CPUC decision on "SmartMeter" fees
I've filed -- or at least, tried to file -- an application with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for rehearing of the CPUC's decision earlier this month to deny my protest of PG&E's proposed fees for gas and electric customers who don't happen to be home when PG&E comes to their home to install a "SmartMeter", or want PG&E to pay like any other wireless data network operator, as it should, for the right to install a transceiver on customer premises for PG&E's commercial wireless mesh data network.
Today was the deadline to file my application for rehearing in order to have the decision suspended (at least for 60 days) pending rehearing. After 60 days, if the CPUC hasn't acted, I can deem my application for rehearing denied, and ask a court to review whether the CPUC followed the law and its own rules, and whether its decision was supported by "substantial evidence" in the record. (It isn't. The CPUC never held any evidentiary hearings or allowed the entry into the record of any evidence on these issues. I was refused permission to even make an offer of proof explaining what I would have tried to show, if allowed to do so.)
I filed my application through the CPUC's "e-filing" system, which seemed to be having problems. I haven't yet received confirmation that my application for rehearing was docketed and assigned a proceeding number, but I also haven't heard anything from the CPUC Public Advisor's office, to which I also sent a copy by e-mail, to indicate that there was any defect in the form of the filing. So I'll wait and see, and re-submit the filing if I don't get confirmation soon. It can take some time for the CPUC to process and acknowledge a filing, and presumably the CPUC Docket Office isn't fully staffed or working full speed today on the day after Thanksgiving.
[Update: My first attempt at filing was rejected several days later because of petty deviations from the format preferred by the CPUC, and I had to re-submit my application with minor changes. It was docketed effective 29 November 2012 as CPUC proceeding A1211026. Unfortunately, that means it isn't docketed as having been filed within 10 days of the date the decision was allegedly "mailed" (I never received it by mail, or by any other means, continuing the CPUC's sorry reord of nonexistent or defective service). As a result, the decision rejecting my protest and imposing the "Smartmeter" opt-out fees is not suspended, and is in effect while my application for rehearing is pending. I'm not optimistic that the CPUC will act favorably on my application for rehearing. It's mainly a prerequisite to
establishing standing and entitlement to sue. But I can't afford what a competent lawyer would cost. So it depends on whether I can find pro bono lawyers (perhaps from a group concerned with defense of property rights?) or if others can raise the funds for legal representation. It could take months (typically several months to a year or two) for the CPUC to rule on my application, but once they do, any lawsuit would have to be filed within 30 days of that ruling.]