A territorial dispute is brewing in San Diego between consumer advocates. The older advocate group, Utility Consumers\u2019 Action Network, alleges its former executive director is trying to poach intervenor status at the California Public Utilities Commission. The former director maintains the intervenor work was conducted during his tenure at UCAN. In a June 26 motion, Michael Shames, UCAN\u2019s former executive director, said that his newly-formed San Diego Consumers Action Network seeks intervenor status in a rate increase application filed by San Diego Gas & Electric. If granted, intervenors may apply for compensation for their work on cases if they contribute to the cases\u2019 outcome. \u201cSDCAN seeks to act as the successor to UCAN, and adopt prior filings\/submissions by UCAN as its own,\u201d the filing states. He notes that the two organizations have \u201can agreement \u2026 regarding representation of SDG&E customers before the commission.\u201d But UCAN\u2019s new executive director, Kim Malcolm, denies such an arrangement exists. In a July 2 letter to the commission, Malcolm outlined her organization\u2019s stance on the controversy, maintaining Shames is off base when implying that UCAN intends to discontinue participation in the rate proceeding, \u201cNeither Mr. Shames nor any other representative of SDCAN has asked UCAN for permission to \u2018succeed\u2019 UCAN,\u201d Malcolm stated. \u201cUCAN strenuously objects to any characterization that SDCAN is a UCAN \u2018successor,\u2019 whatever that may imply.\u201d On July 18, UCAN filed a motion requesting compensation in the rate proceeding, even though a deadline had passed. \u201cUCAN did not timely file a request because of circumstances arising from UCAN\u2019s court-appointed receivership and subsequent leadership transition, which precluded ready access to all of the information UCAN needed to file the request on time,\u201d attorney David Peffer explained in the filing. Peffer added that the organization believes the commission can exercise its discretion in the matter. Although UCAN objects to attempts to being pushed aside it doesn\u2019t expressly object to SDCAN\u2019s also seeking intervenor status, Malcolm said. The state\u2019s largest utility advocate, The Utility Reform Network, would not comment on the confrontation. \u201cMr. Shames has been a skilled and experienced practitioner in proceedings before the Commission,\u201d Malcolm said. \u201cHis participation in the proceedings will also surely benefit San Diego ratepayers.\u201d Between 1993 and 2011, Shames was awarded intervernor compensation as an attorney and expert witness. He was paid between $165-$330\/hour, according to CPUC data. Shames, who turned down interview requests, spent 30 years with UCAN before leaving. He helped launch the consumer group in the early 1980s and served as its executive director since 1985. He stepped down from that role last May in the wake of allegations of embezzlement and other financial misdeeds (Current, June 1, 2012). An FBI investigation was launched in February. In the commission case at issue, the utility seeks to increase rates by $1.1 billion over four years to maintain and improve its infrastructure and keep up with the rising cost of insurance.