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January 2018 President’s Column

President's Comments
By: Steve Weitekamp

 


Happy New Year! 2018 is going to be an eventful year for our Association.
         
Now is the time to register to be a part of CMSA’s historic 100th year convention. We will have a valuable program and celebrate, as only our members can, the long and successful history of our Association. Check into the Convention Kiosk on the CMSA website to download registration forms (or call our office) and to book your hotel rooms for this not-to-be-missed event.

In addition to a program filled with important information and fun-filled gatherings, we will be rolling out a new CMSA logo. A board initiative that has been several years in the making, our new logo has a more contemporary look while not veering too far off the road we have traveled.

One of the major focuses of the last several months has been the regulatory changes involving the transfer of regulatory authority for Household Goods Carrier from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). A focus of our efforts was to develop relationships and open channels of engagement with the new agency. As a part of this process, we requested a seat on the DCA Advisory Council that meets with the department that will oversee our regulators. Former CMSA Chairman Chris Higdon and I have been appointed council members.

Towards the end of the year, we had our first meeting as members of DCA BEARHFTI Advisory Council at their Sacramento office. We are working hard to ensure that the new program serves our members. While there are definitely areas for improvement, beyond the obvious current lack of enforcement against illegal operators, there are other aspects that we insist remain.

After the advisory council, I had a meeting with the DCA Bureau Chief Nicholas Oliver and the DCA information officer.

We discussed the need for outreach as we ramp up for the new program effective 7/1/18. I described how we see the need for outreach in three areas;

1. Consumers - let them know that the state regulates - why they regulate (value to consumer) - who the regulated operators are (directory)

2. Regulated Community - update permitted carriers in the program (to date CMSA has been the only voice)

3. Illegal Operators - through stings and active enforcement make it clear that they must come into compliance or find other employment

The DCA Office of Public Affairs asked about particular demographic groups where they should focus their initial consumer outreach material. Although it is something we negotiated in the legislation, it is still highly unusual to have the state willing to work on marketing on behalf of a regulated industry. We definitely want to be supportive and have the message meet the broadest market.

While we are moving forward with a move to the DCA effective July 1, 2018, it is still important to remain engaged with the CPUC.  On January 11th, the CPUC Commission met for the first meeting of 2018 and approved an annual rate adjustment for the MAX 4 Tariff of 2.7%. This increase is the result of past work of the Association. The amended tariff pages are available on the CPUC website at www.cpuc.ca.gov.

 

 

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