It\u2019s World Series time, signaling the end of a brutal season for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Fans boycotted the Boys in Blue, after being turned off by the spectacle of owners Frank and Jamie McCourt drawing prodigious sums of money from the enterprise. Details of their lavish lifestyle and melodramatic divorce were splashed across headlines and television news. Angelinos instead turned for entertainment to the free concerts, farmers markets, and local festivals that dot the giant metropolis by the hundred on most summer nights. Who needs the $15 parking and $13 beer at Dodger Stadium? Yet a $13 beer is cheap fun when the energy league plans on upping the southern half of the state\u2019s rates by $1.4 billion in 2012. More increases are to follow in 2013 and 2014. Signs are that working stiff ratepayers have about as much enthusiasm for talk about system reliability, 33 percent renewable energy, greenhouse gas reductions, and utility executive bonuses as they did for Dodger Stadium this summer. Like Major League Baseball moved to rein in the McCourts with the plummeting willingness and capacity of Dodger fans to bankroll the couple\u2019s multi-million dollar spending habits, it\u2019s time for the California Public Utilities Commission to exert strong financial control over Southern California\u2019s utilities. Making sure millions of households and businesses have reliable energy service and cleaning up the resulting environmental mess is serious business compared to the business of America\u2019s favorite past-time. Unlike attending Dodger games, utility customers have no choice but to pay for household energy--a necessity--and no choice of where they purchase it. That\u2019s why the CPUC needs to heed the lesson of what ailed Dodger baseball this summer. Authority figures--be they sports team owners, corporations, government agencies, or politicians of just about any stripe--aggravate consumers. For example, Tea Partiers and environmentalists protest smart meters. Occupy Wall Street protesters rail against multi-million dollar salaries for utility executives. They\u2019re two sides of the same coin--the 99 percent who are impatient, distrustful, and ready to take things into their own hands. That\u2019s why, now, more than ever, it\u2019s the job of utility regulators to hear them, as well as the industry, and address their concerns. One-third of Southern California Edison customers qualify for low-income energy assistance programs. Unemployment in California stands at 12.1 percent, with 14.1 percent out of work in the hot, energy-intensive Inland Empire area encompassing the metropolitan parts of Riverside and San Bernardino County. Those are the low-ball official numbers. This economic history has deeply changed attitudes and priorities for millions of Californians. This Halloween we\u2019re more likely to see \u201cAnonymous\u201d masks than baseball uniform costumes. When it comes to energy, while stressed ratepayers continue to want \u201cgreen\u201d energy, they are rightfully skeptical about the cost. They want fewer power outages and safe pipelines, but not gold plating. They want competent utility managers and workers, but question whether investor-owned utility executives really are any more qualified and skilled than their counterparts running public power agencies like the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power and Sacramento Municipal Utility District. There, top executives make a tenth or less of the typical top investor-owned utility executive\u2019s salary. Investor-owned utilities need to earn a fair rate of return for their shareholders. They need good earnings in order to borrow money in tight credit markets. A 10+ percent rate of return is inappropriate in a world where banks pay less than 1 percent interest on deposits and home mortgage interest rates have dropped below 4 percent. Rate increases of 7+ percent a year are equally inappropriate. Regulators considering such massive rate hikes need to restore a bit of faith in the system for the 99 percent and give us something to cheer about. We need you to be the equivalent of straight-faced baseball commissioner Bud Selig by keeping utilities, like Frank and Jamie McCourt, from laughing all the way to the bank.