To highlight a lengthy California Public Utilities Commission hearing process that often goes unnoticed, The Utility Reform Network on July 19 delivered petitions signed by 3,600 ratepayers opposed to a Pacific Gas & Electric rate hike to the commission. The proposed increase, if granted as part of the utility's triennial general rate case, would be on top of the $1.7 billion cost of the smart-metering program approved by the commission July 20. "It is as if they don't know other increases are coming," said Mindy Spatt, TURN spokesperson. The consumer advocate objects to the $500 million rate increase the utility is seeking in the general rate case. "While PG&E urged consumers to conserve in the face of skyrocketing temperatures, its response to skyrocketing bills is just the opposite," the consumer organization claimed. TURN's petitioners also objected to the shutdown of the utility's 84 service centers and the proposed 1 percent fee on late bill payments.