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Portola Reporter
Portola , California
April 20, 2016     Portola Reporter
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April 20, 2016

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12A Wednesday, April 20, 2016 Portola Reporter Mail-in ballots explained Marcy DeMartile from the Plumas County elections office came out to the League of Women Voters Candidates Forum on April 12 at the Greenville Town Hall to explain why the county will now go to an all mail-in voting system. All registered voters will be mailed a ballot on May 9 to be returned on or before June 7 (ballots must be postmarked by June 7). DeMartile encouraged voters to call 283-6256 or (844) 676-8683 during the week of May 16 if they have not received ballots. Photo by Maggie Wells Utility pays out millions to northern counties Pacific Gas and Electric Company is paying property taxes and franchise fees of more than $318 million this spring to the 50 counties and 243 cities where the utility owns and operates gas and electric infrastructure that serves 16 million Californians, including millions to North Valley cities and counties. Plumes County's share is $139,438. "Property tax and franchise fee payments are one of the important ways PG&E helps drive local economies and supports essential public services like education and public safety. This year's higher payments reflect the substantial local investments we are making in our gas and electric infrastructure to create one of the safest and most reliable utility systems in the country," said Jason Wells, senior vice president and chief financial officer for PG&E. PG&E pays franchise fees to cities and counties for the use of public streets for its gas and electric facilities. The utility submitted the fees to counties by March 31 and to cities by April 15. PG&E's franchise fee payments totaled over $125 million - almost $28 million for natural gas and more than $98 million for electric service. This sum is almost $5 million more than the previous year's total. In addition, PG&E also collected and remitted over $30 million in franchise fee surcharges that are imposed by some jurisdictions in PG&E's service area. PG&E's franchise fee payments to North Valley cities and counties totaled $4.5 million -- nearly $783,000 for natural gas and more than $3.7 million for electric service. PG&E franchise fee payments were: Butte County: $958,444.76; city of Biggs: $4,808; city of Chico: $613,328; city of Gridley: $17,594; city of Oroville: $154,604; city of Paradise: $263,036; Glenn County: $532,743.42; city of Orland: $45,290; city of Willows: $41,586; Lassen County: $27,037; Plumas County: $139,438; Shasta County: $565,119; city of Anderson: $135,615; city of Shasta Lake: $24,525; city of Redding: $219,755; Siskiyou County: $1,973; Tehama County: $569335; city of Coming: $53,220; city of Red Bluff: $105,219; city of Tehama: $4,414; Trinity Country: $39,569. PG&E also increased its payment of property taxes sharply this year as the utility continued to make significant investments in its gas and electric system to improve safety and reliability. On April 10, PG&E paid property taxes of $12,190,122 to Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Plumas, Shasta, Tehama and Trinity counties. The payment covers the period from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2015. Total payments for the tax year of July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015 are $24,379,062 -- an increase of $1,828,350 over the prior fiscal year. Throughout its service area, PG&E paid property taxes Of nearly $193 million to the 50 counties in which it owns property. The payment covers the period from Jan. I to June 30, 2016. Total payments for the tax year of July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016 are more than $385 million -- an increase of $41.6 million over, or 12 percent more than the prior fiscal year. PG&E invested more than $5.5 billion last year and expects to invest $5.6 billion this year to enhance'and upgrade its gas and electrical infrastructure across Northern and Central California. One such investment is the recently completed $36 million state-of-the-art electric control center in Rocklin. PG&E opened a $40 million control center in Concord last year and in 2014 opened a $28.5 million control center in Fresno. Together, these three centers provide coverage to all of PG&E's electric distribution system. PG&E is also constructing a $75 million gas operations technical training center in Winters. ems on The Plumas County Democratic Central Committee is hosting a reception for two democratic candidates running for office in November. The reception is Saturday, May 7, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Feather River Grange Hall, 440 Main St. in Quincy. warn Jim Reed, who is running i for California's 1st Congressional seat against Doug LaMalfa; and Rob Rowen, who hopes to unseat Ted Gaines in the race for State Senate District 1, will introduce themselves to votes and answer questions. Light . i refreshments will be serve& s of scams during election Pacific Gas and Electric Company warns its customers to protect themselves, their families and businesses by increasing their awareness of potential online and in-person seams. According to the Internal Revenue Service and the nation's leading credit rating agencies, scammers take advantage of tax and election season to trick Californians into giving up their personal and financial information. The IRS has seen an approximately 400 percent surge in phishing and malware incidents so far in the 2016 tax season. Here in California, recent seams have involved imposters posing as PG&E :employees, including: - In-person scammers pretending to be PG&E utility workers and going door-to-door in PG&E's service territory in order to gain entry to homes. - Email scammers sending "phishing" emails to PG&E customers, asking them to make a payment online. -Phone scammers posing as PG&E customer service representatives and asking for payment information over the phone. In all cases, PG&E actively works with law enforcement to help stop any seam impacting customers. Anyone who has received a call, email or visit from imposters claiming to be PG&E employees can report it immediately by calling PG&E at 800-PGE-5000. "Seams of all kinds abound during tax and election season, from people going door-to-door with fake petitions to email scammers sending out messages with false tax refund documents. At PG&E, safety and security is our top priority, and we want to ensure our customers know how to recognize a legitimate PG&E contact. Awareness is the best defense, so we are asking our customers to stay alert and contact us if anything seems suspicious," said Laurie Giammona, set mr, vice president and chief customer officer. Stop scammers in their tracks PG&E offers the following tips to help protect customers from seams: - Always ask for identification before allowing anyone claiming to be a PG&E: representative inside your home. PG&E employees always carry their identification and are always willing to show it to you. - Remember that if you have an appointment with PG&E, i you will receive an automated i call within 48 hours prior tO a scheduled visit, or a Personal call from a PG&E gas service representative prior t6a scheduled visit. - PG&E's Credit Department will not ask for::: personal information or a credit card number over the phone. If you have concerns about the legitimacy'of a phone call about a past due bill, a service, request or a request for personal information, hang upl and call PG&E at 800-PGE-5000. Be cautious if you receive an unexpected email that claims to be from PG&E. Do not click on any links or provide any personal information, and call number listed above instead. "Online scammers are getting more and more -- sophisticated every day. From phishing emails to fake postings on social media, cyber-criminals are constantly finding new ways to separate us from our personal information. At PG&E, we're asking our customers to practice good cyber-awareness and to call us directly if they receive any suspicious online communications claiming to be from PG&E," said Karen Austin, senior vice president and chief information officer. FOR 6 MONTHSI*