The California PHCC tallied a major victory in January against utility companies in their state. The California Public Utilities Commission decision said utilities and affiliates:
  • cannot participate in joint advertising or marketing with affiliates;
  • must be completely separate corporate entities, keeping separate books and records;
  • cannot share office space, computer systems or employees;
  • may not provide billing services for the affiliate unless the same terms and prices are offered to other market participants;
  • cannot offer rebates for doing business with each other;
  • must provide customer information to affiliates and other market participants on an equal basis; and cannot make joint purchases.

According to California PHCC president, Patrick Waller, the organization spent about $50,000 on this battle, which has been fought since 1995. Fewer than 400 contractors contributed money to the fight.

The $50,000 California PHCC spent is dwarfed compared to the $700,000 Minnesota and $400,000 Colorado organizations spent for less significant victories. This decision is expected to be a model for the rest of the country to assure fair competition between independent contractors and deregulated utility subsidiaries.

PHC Profit Report contributed to this report.