Dec 162021

Exactly what Kirk Uhler predicted would happen, has happened. The staff obsession with “Reserves” and the refusal of the board of Pioneer Energy to challenge what Staff is telling them has caused Pioneer Energy to NOT be what they were presented to be when founded.

In fact, your intrepid blogger was told that the charter of Pioneer Energy was recently changed to “Provide Rates Competitive with PG&E” versus “Provide Rates Cheaper than PG&E”. Competitive means close, and most likely higher than PG&E. This is the case now.

When you read the presentation, one thing will stick out: The executive director and staff of Pioneer Energy are obsessed with building cash reserves fast and have successfully gotten higher rates under the guise of financial stability or something like that.

Even now – the Staff presented the board with only three options: Rates Same as PG&E, 3% less and 6% Less. Given that PG&E has almost the highest electricity rates in America, this renders Pioneer Energy to be a fraud. (Remember there is a surcharge that PG&E is allowed to put on Power aggregators that adds to the bill, effectively making “rate parity” a higher rate than PG&E)

The presentation clearly says that PG&E is taking a massive rate increase. The solution is for Pioneer Energy to take advantage of it to continue to overcharge customers to build reserves.

• Projections assume current Pioneer generation rates through 2024
• Under current conditions, revenues would need to increase for 2022 and beyond in order to cover projected operating expenses
• Do Nothing with rates is not an option

The bullets are straight out of the Staff Report to Pioneer Energy.

Then – this is how Staff Couched the Proposed 2022 Rates apparently in order to manipulate the board in to doing what they want:

• Rates set to parity for the 2021 vintaged customers; lower PCIA levels result in an average estimated discount of 12% for the 2017 vintaged customers
• Estimated $46mm reserve contribution (104 days COH) • Each percentage point decrease in Pioneer’s rates, results in a ≈$2.1mm (5 days COH) revenue decrease

Translation – New Customers still pay higher rates than PG&E because of the surcharge that PG&E is allowed to put on power aggregators like Pioneer Energy.

Then also see how they threaten the board by saying every % you lower rates means something really bad. Not noted in this presentation is that Pioneer Energy has a lot of cash in the bank already and the dissident board members are pointing out that Pioneer does not need to be so aggressive with their rates.

Please note that Jim Holmes is the chair of the board and Loomis Town Councilmember Jeff Duncan (a democrat) are the rate-hike cheerleaders. Similar to the WPWMA, there seems to be a disease in Placer County Local Government where few if any people on boards or commissions question the recommendations of staff.

When that happens, the taxpayers suffer.

P.S. Nowhere in these discussions have I ever seen an honest appraisal about how large the savings to customers could be. The suggested rates have always been tied to PG&E’s rates and then the budget reverse engineered to fit. Most businesses charge based on their own costs and set prices based on those. Welcome to Government, again.

Sep 282019

Since it appears to be all about Jenine who resigned after board rejected her first attempted 17% Rate Increase (which later reappeared as a 25% rate increase), Jenine Windeshausen quit her position as executive director of Pioneer Energy. Yet, she is still there.

In her rampage to win at all costs, she tried three different ways to get her rate increase approved. It is the opinion of this blogger based on research that Jenine has enjoyed the attention she has been getting in local media publications and her grand ideas for new government programs were part of her vision for massive rate hikes at Pioneer Energy.

Here is the current lay of the land. Jenine Windeshausen has been playing games with the agenda, typically waiting until the absolute last minute to post it. If she sticks to her pattern, the agenda for the 10-6-2019 meeting will be posted at about 4PM Friday 10-4-2019.

Here is what the board did after her latest stunt to try and backdoor a massive rate increase:

Instead of paying off the debt by the end of the 2019-2020 Fiscal year. The Board adopted a policy of paying it off by FY 2023.

The board agreed to increase the set aside for a margin account from $6.1MM to $10MM. This is cash kept in a trust account as the electric companies front the electricity and give pioneer a chance to collect monthly bills from ratepayers to pay the companies back. Sometimes due to emergencies or other unforeseen circumstances Pioneer has to pay the utility quickly as they can “Margin Call” the bill. This is what the Margin Account is for.

Lastly, rather than filling a $30MM reserve within a year (Jenine’s demand) they voted to do a ramp up to a $30MM in reserves by 2023.

Jenine was attempting to accomplish all of the above in one year – which was the excuse for the 25% rate increase. There was never a plan to lower rates back down once the goals were met – which buttresses my theory that all the big government ideas Jenine had been getting lauded for in local “Business” publications were in her long term plans at the expense of pioneer’s ratepayers.

A couple of key notes – #1 Supervisor Jim Holmes after voting several times to jack rates through the ceiling, voted for the above policy. #2 The intransigent Lincoln Councilmember Peter Gilbert voiced support for massive rate hikes and then voted with Kirk Uhler and Rocklin Mayor Joe Patterson to adopt the above policy. Knowing that the majority of population was voting for the above, the far left Loomis Towncouncilman Jeff Duncan, DTS Colfax Councilmember Kim Douglas and Republican Auburn Councilmember Cheryl Maki could do nothing to force the rate increase to they acquiesced to the above.


Jenine has to now come up with a rate structure consistent with the above objectives. This means she still has it within her purview to propose rate increases that are far out of line with reality. Since it has been clear that she was enraged by being told no, and that she has attempted no less than three times hence to force through the massive rate increases, it is not outside the realm of possibility that she slips through a ridiculous budget proposal at 4PM on Friday. (With the meeting being in a different location once again in an attempt to minimize public participation)

Do not let off and make sure you plan flexibility in your 10-7-2019 schedule to make sure Peter Gilbert and others on that board keep Jenine in check and adopt a reasonable rate structure.

Sep 212019


This is what happens when someone in a position of power is on a rampage once they make a policy issue personal. Undaunted, Jenine Windeshausen and the Staff of Pioneer Energy have found a new way to FORCE a massive rate increase.

It’s really simple – they want to change policy to force the utility to pay off all it’s debt in an unrealistically short period thus making a massive rate increase the ONLY option.


Larry Oddo Finance and Administration Building Assessor’s Conference Room, 2nd Floor 2980 Richardson Drive, Auburn, CA 95603 1PM Monday 9-23-2019

This is extremely deceitful and was only posted for public review only 72 hours in advance of the meeting to adopt this disaster.

Effort Continues To Dramatically Increase Electricity Rates
In August, the Pioneer Community Energy Board of Directors postponed implementation of a 17 percent electricity rate increase (and 24 percent for residential customers) until the board had a chance to review debt and reserve policies.
Late Friday, the staff released a recommendation for dramatic increases in reserves of Pioneer and cash on hand and a debt policy that might force the agency to immediately repay $14 million in start-up costs.
The Pioneer Board will meet in a special meeting on Monday, Sept. 23, at 1 p.m. at the Larry Oddo Finance and Administration Building Assessor’s Conference Room, 2nd Floor, 2980 Richardson Drive in Auburn. (NOTE: This is a different location than all other Pioneer meetings).
At a special meeting Monday, Pioneer Board members are being asked by staff to adopt a new policy for reserves that would require the agency to set aside $30 million – and to accumulate that $30 million in just 3 years at a rate of nearly $10 million per year. This kind of reserve – up from a board policy of just $6.5 million in June and just $9.7 million in July – will drive a large rate
increase, perhaps even more than 17 percent. Why is the reserve requirement being tripled just two months later?
Additionally, the board is being asked to set a policy of having $24 million in cash on hand at all times – even beyond the reserves, also in three years. In June, the board policy was for $2 million in cash on hand. Again, this policy will drive a HUGE rate increase.
Finally, the Board if being asked to adopt a debt management policy that could require the agency to pay off all $14 million in debt in one year – far beyond what the staff recommended in June at just $5 million.
If these policies are adopted on Monday, it will be very difficult to stop the rate increases a week later that would be necessary to carry them out.
Board member emails … note Supervisor Uhler and Rocklin Vice Mayor Janda have led the efforts to block these increases in the past.
Kirk Uhler, Placer County Supervisor,
Jim Holmes, Placer County Supervisor,
Peter Gilbert, Lincoln City Councilmember,
Kim Douglass, Colfax City Councilmember,
Jeff Duncan, Loomis Town Councilmember,
Greg Janda, Rocklin City Councilmember,
Cheryl Maki, Auburn Mayor,
Larry Oddo Finance and Administration Building
Assessor’s Conference Room, 2nd Floor
2980 Richardson Drive, Auburn, CA 95603
Aug 172019

That’s right folks, the massive Rate increase that Placer County Treasurer Tax Collector Jenine Windeshausen made all about herself has been forestalled.

In an emergency meeting of the Pioneer Energy Board – on a motion to reconsider, the massive 25% rate increase has been forestalled.

Sitting in for Greg Janda, Rocklin Mayor Joe Patterson voted to forestall. Sitting in for Placer County Supervisor Kirk Uhler, Supervisor Bonnie Gore voted to forestall. After getting rheemed by his colleagues, Peter Gilbert from Lincoln voted to forestall.

They use weighted voting by population so those three votes represented 64% of the ratepayers.

Under parliamentary rules, someone on the winning side can request a motion to reconsider. Since Lincoln Councilmember Peter Gilbert defied the will of his colleagues in voting for Jenine’s scheme, he made the motion to reconsider after being threatened with removal from the Pioneer Energy Board. I am told Alyssa Silhi and Dan Karleskint were unwilling to kick him off and wanted to give him a second chance.

I was told by two people at the meeting that Gilbert was not the only Lincoln Councilmember in attendance at the meeting. Gilbert defiantly spoke in favor of the massive rate increase before voting to forestall it.

I was also told by yet another attender that Placer County Supervisor Jim Holmes was openly hostile and nearly had a physical confrontation with someone in the hallway to add to this Loomis Town Councilmember Jeff Duncan was also combative and berated people at the meeting. (Loomis Mayor Tim Onderko came and spoke as a citizen against the massive rate increase)

It appears that people like Jeff Duncan and Jim Holmes have made this rate hike about themselves as much as any cover issues behind it.

The cover story for the massive rate increase was debt repayment and reserve requirements. What this means is that the Massive Rate Increase could come back at a later date. The staff, who along with Windeshausen were pushing for this massive rate increase were given direction by the board to come up with a plan for debt repayment and saving money in reserves systematically.

Given the way these things usually work with bureaucrats, expect them to come back with another rate increase proposal hidden behind some sort of halfway reforms and debt repayment plan. I hope I am wrong, but 22 years in this game tells me otherwise. Staff always wants more money.

Aug 052019

It has happened. Jenine Windeshausen quit in a huff last week when her 25% rate increase proposal was rejected at a previous meeting. She is the Placer County Treasurer-Tax Collector and is also the executive director of Pioneer Energy. In a letter sent to the Auburn Journal last week, she detailed her resignation over the Board’s preliminary vote to reject the massive rate hike.

Today, led by Cheryl Maki – from the Auburn City Council and Jenine Windeshausen who was determined to win the fight for the rate hike, it happened.

Placer County Supervisor Jim Holmes voted to hike your electricity bill 25% (he made the motion)

Colfax Councilmember Kim Douglas voted to hike your electricity bill 25% (flipped from no last week, to yes this week)

Loomis Town Councilmember Jeff Duncan voted to hike your electricity bill 25%

Lincoln City Councilmember Peter Gilbert voted to hike your electricity bill 25% (who also flipped from no last week, to yes this week)

as Did Auburn Councilmember Cheryl Maki. (who seconded Holmes’ motion)

For those of you on the outskirts of Lincoln, Loomis and anywhere around Colfax or Auburn has your home insurance cancelled or gone up thousands of dollars? I’ve been dealing with a never-ending nightmare in my insurance business and now these people just hammered you with a massive electrical rate increase on the heels of your insurance skyrocketing!!!

Even more outrageous is that the Board of Pioneer Energy voted for corporate welfare on the backs of the residential customers – handing business customers a 2% rate decrease at the same time!

It was put to me by multiple people at the meeting that the outcome appeared to be scripted. The staff of Pioneer Energy were way too quick and prepared to answer questions they had anticipated. The demeanor and countenance of the rate-hikers indicated they had all been contacted and knew the outcome before it happened. If indeed Jenine Windeshausen “ran a drill”, using her position as executive director to wield influence over members subject to the Brown Act (meaning that more than 2 can not talk outside of a public meeting about an issue) this would be grounds to recall her for a violation of the public trust.

Ripping off residential customers to subsidize rates for business clients is reason enough to recall her.

Be sure to thank Placer County Supervisor Kirk Uhler and Rocklin Councilmember Greg Janda for standing up and voting no.

The cover story for the consumer ripoff and corporate welfare is “paying off debt”. The debt held by the utility was only at a 3% interest rate and is now being paid for with a 25% rate increase. Only in the minds of government is that “fiscally responsible”, and only if you believe you are entitled to everyone else’s money that is.

Stay tuned to Right on Daily for more on the Pioneer 5, the mavens of corporate welfare that gave away the store on the backs of residential ratepayers…