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California Utility Gets Reassurance on Wildfire Liability

By Ivan Penn and Peter Eavis, THE NEW YORK TIMES

November 16, 2018…

After its stock plummeted over its possible role in California’s deadly wildfires, the state’s largest utility won back some investor confidence on Friday after its chief regulator offered a backstop.

Audi’s Autonomous Driving Cup: A Big Deal For Small Cars

By Rene Tellers,

November 13, 2018…

Audi prepares for its Autonomous Driving Cup, Uber ends its wound licking, and Waymo defends its driverless tests against skepticism: read our weekly analysis of the most important news in automated driving!

EDITORIAL: Pickel Is A Ratepayer Advocate Who Doesn't Relish Advocacy

By Editorial Board, LOS ANGELES TIMES

November 1, 2018…

Suspicious of Los Department of Water and Power rate hikes and frustrated that the city-owned utility was treated like a political football, residents in 2011 voted to create a ratepayer advocate.

Google Spinoff To Test Truly Driverless Cars In California

By Micahel Liedtke, ASSOCIATED PRESS

October 30, 2018

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The robotic car company created by Google is poised to attempt a major technological leap in California, where its vehicles will hit the roads without a human on hand to take control in emergencies.

Waymo Gets Green Light For Robot Cars In California; No Humans Needed


October 30, 2018…

Waymo is the first company in California allowed to test robot cars on public roads with no human driver behind the steering wheel, it said Tuesday.

Consumer Advocate Says DWP Ratepayer Advocate’s Contract Should Not Be Renewed

By Sandy Wells, KABC 790 AM Los Angeles, CA

October 29, 2018…

How can DWP’s public advocate Fred Pickel remain cool as a cucumber in the face of rising frustration over utility rates?

'Red Flag’ Wind Warnings Hit Northern California — And PG&E Urges Customers To Prepare


October 29, 2018

With weather forecasters issuing “red flag” warnings for much of Northern California, PG&E said Monday it wasn’t ready to shut off power again to reduce fire risk but is watching the forecast closely.

Fred Pickel Recommended for Another Term as LADWP Ratepayer Advocate

By Contributing Editors, MYNEWSLA

October 25, 2018…

Fred Pickel was recommended Thursday by a committee to serve another term as the watchdog and ratepayer advocate for the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power.

Fire Season Becomes Blackout Time in California

By Hudson Sangree, RTO.COM

October 16, 2018…

All three of California’s big investor-owned utilities this week shut down power or warned customers they might need to because of dry, windy conditions that could lead to wildfires, prompting one consumer group to call for a probe into the practice.

Consumer Advocates Suggest Hunt To Replace DWP Watchdog Is A 'Sham Process'

By Emily Alpert Reyes, LOS ANGELES TIMES

October 10, 2018…

When Los Angeles started hunting for a “ratepayer advocate” to scrutinize the Department of Water and Power, Mike Gatto said he was encouraged by several people at City Hall to apply.

Aegon Unit Agrees To $195m Settlement Over Universal Life Insurance

By Staff Writers, VERDICT UK

October 5, 2018…

Transamerica, the US unit of Dutch insurer Aegon, has agreed to pay $195m to resolve charges of raising monthly deduction rates on certain universal life policies.

Op-Ed: Insurance For Fossil-Fuel Projects But Not Homeowners

Op-Ed Commentary by Jamie Court & Michael Mattoch, Consumer Watchdog for SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

October 4, 2018…

What if hospitals sold crack, doctors offered cigarettes in their waiting rooms, and firefighters gave out flamethrowers?

Their Children Were Killed By An Opioid User. They Changed The Entire System

After Carmen and Bob Pack discovered the driver who hit their children had opioid pill prescriptions from six doctors, they sought to fix California’s drug-monitoring database


October 2, 2018…