The CPUC has augmented its “cramming” rules in order to provide stronger protections for California’s consumers and prevent unauthorized third-party charges on customer telephone bills.
The CPUC clarified that only the person responsible for charges on a bill (the subscriber) can authorize billing for services by a third-party. Telephone billing corporations (such as landline or wireless carriers, resellers, or their billing agents) are explicitly required to obtain the subscriber’s authorization before billing or causing to be billed any charge on a telephone bill.
The revised rules also make clear that a billing telephone corporation is responsible for refunding all unauthorized charges presented in its bill, regardless of whether the unsuspecting subscriber may have paid the charge. While an unauthorized charge is being investigated, the subscriber will not be required to pay the disputed charge or any associated late charges or penalties, and the charge may not be sent to collection and no adverse credit report may be made based on non-payment of that charge.
Under the strengthened anti-cramming rules, telephone billers are encouraged to provide consumers with a no-cost option to block or limit third-party offerings, such as Premium SMS content (e.g., ringtones) or pay-per-use services. Telephone billers are also to actively inform their subscribers of these options. Additionally, billers are required to report the available blocking options to the CPUC on an annual basis.
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Cash rebates of up to $500,000 are now available for the installation of solar water heating systems on multi-family residences, businesses, and industrial facilities.
On October 8, 2010, the California Solar Initiative (CSI)-Thermal Program began accepting applicants from the multi-family/commercial sector under the $350 million program that promotes the installation of solar water heating systems on homes and businesses served by Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas and Electric Company, and Southern California Gas Company.
The CSI-Thermal Program began accepting applications from single-family residents on May 1, 2010, but the program was until now unavailable to the multi-family/commercial sector while the CPUC and Program Administrators worked on technical implementation details. Incentives of up to $500,000 are now available to multi-family/commercial applicants who meet the application criteria, including completion of a one-day training course and installation of equipment that has been certified by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation. Applicants may apply for rebates online.
The CSI-Thermal Program is the latest addition to the Go Solar California
campaign, which encourages the use of solar in California.
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The CPUC has named the experts of an Independent Review Panel that will conduct a comprehensive study and investigation of the September 9, 2010, explosion of a Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) pipeline in San Bruno, including examining the root causes and making recommendations for action by the CPUC to best ensure such an accident is not repeated elsewhere.
The panel members are:
- Chair - Larry N. Vanderhoef, Chancellor Emeritus, University of California, Davis
- Patrick Lavin, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 7th District International Executive Council Member; Co-chairman of the Pacific Council on International Policy, Energy Task Force
- Karl S. Pister, Chair of the Governing Board of the California Council on Science and Technology; Chancellor Emeritus, University of California, Santa Cruz; Dean and Roy W. Carlson Professor of Engineering, Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley
- Paula Rosput Reynolds, President and Chief Executive Officer, PreferWest, LLC; former Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer of AGL Resources, a Fortune 1000 Atlanta-based energy services holding company
- Jan Schori, counsel to the law firm Downey Brand LLP; former General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District; North American Electric Reliability Council Board of Trustees; Climate Action Reserve Board of Directors
Please see the CPUC’s website
for detailed biographies, photos, and the Panel’s charter.
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The CPUC has created Engage 360, a new brand name and web portal to convey clean energy messaging to consumers.
Engage 360 was developed through a year-long process based on an in-depth, collaborative approach between the CPUC and the state’s investor-owned utilities.
Engage 360 represents a community-based effort to provide Californians with clear and relevant options for saving energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and supporting clean energy solutions. “Business as usual” is no longer an option. Engage 360 will help California create a change in behavior that will effect a meaningful, long-term reduction in energy consumption.
Californians who are adopting and sharing an energy saving way of life can come together on Engage 360’s web portal
to help lead change and measure progress to make the Engage 360 movement meaningful to everyone. Visit today!
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