The Sacramento Municipal Utility District unanimously approved language for a utility annexation initiative heading to the November ballot. However, the muni faced charges of bias from the opposition during a May 18 meeting. The ballot measure language "is inaccurate and misleading," asserted lobbyist Sophia Cazania of Townsend, Raimundo & Besler. She added, "The argument is biased in favor of a yes vote." The firm represents Citizens for Reliable and Affordable Energy, funded by Pacific Gas & Electric. PG&E's territory to the west of the capital would be annexed if the muni prevails. SMUD board president Genevieve Shiroma asked Cazania what was misleading about the language. "I am not an attorney and can't speak on the issue," Cazania replied. She added that the attorneys reviewing the matter had not had enough time to analyze the language. The proposed measure had been publicly available since May 12, according to Arlen Orchard, SMUD general counsel. The language states that SMUD will provide electrical services to Yolo County and the cities of Davis, Woodland, and West Sacramento but that "Yolo customers shall pay the costs of annexation and service and the SMUD Board of Directors shall use net income for Yolo Service to maintain low rates and reliable services for SMUD customers and invest in renewable energy resources and energy efficiency to provide clean air benefits to the Sacramento region." The initiative language will not be submitted to the county until the Sacramento Local Agency Formation Commission's decision affirming the proposed annexation of PG&E customers across the Sacramento River is final, Orchard said. The request for reconsideration expires June 7. If the matter were reconsidered, language modifications could be required. PG&E sponsored a nonbinding measure that will be on the June ballot. Measure H asks Sacramento voters whether SMUD should be required to seek voter approval when considering extending its borders. During this week's meeting, Shiroma said that $2 million of PG&E ratepayer money will be spent fighting the annexation. The tab for the June ballot measure will be $250,000. Jon Tremayne, PG&E spokesperson, said the $2 million funding that SMUD addressed "is for the service analysis group that assesses the impact of economic development activities." That includes evaluating the impacts of large-scale developments and the potential loss of 70,000 customers from an annexation. SMUD customers as well as Yolo County residents will vote on whether to approve annexation of its neighboring cities and unincorporated parts of Yolo County in November. PG&E insisted that the expansion plan be put before not just Yolo County voters but also those in Sacramento. The SMUD board agreed to place a measure on the ballot last January. If a majority of voters in both counties approve the annexation, Yolo county voters may start receiving SMUD service in October 2008.