November 16, 2019

Access to Your Medical Records: You are Entitled to Receive a Copy of Your Medical Records. It’s the Law.

Patient Access to Medical Records
HIPPA


Access to your medical records:  Know your rights!

So this autumn, I’ve had a mind numbing, time wasting, stressful, and beyond frustrating experience dealing with a new specialist doctor.  A doctor who, as I learned after immediately experiencing insurance billing and many other problems with the doctor’s practice, is not a member of John Muir Medical Group.  John Muir otherwise provides all of our primary, other specialty, urgent, emergency, and hospitalization care.

I’ll just say one thing:  If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, don’t ever … ever … EVER … get care from any physician or facility associated with Hills Physicians Medical Group in San Ramon, California.  Which brings me to the topic of this blog post, one of likely several I’ll have from my dealings with this organization:  A Patient’s Access to His or Her Medical Records.

The doctor we were referred to, a Gastroenterologist located in Pleasant Hill, CA, and Brentwood, CA, has an office with procedures that do not comply with HIPPA.  The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPPA, is a federal health care law originally signed into law on August 21, 1996 and revised a number of times since then.  It is a positive and much needed law for the health care consumer.  Among other things, HIPPA strengthened privacy laws related to patient health records, and provided that a patient has a legal right to his or her medical records.

Anyhoo, dealing with this new physician, we were able to quickly get an appointment for an initial consultation, followed by one of two tests/procedures that were required.  The initial consultation went fine.  And then, well, everything else went downhill faster than an Alpine skier on an icy course.  Or maybe a turd rolling downhill.

Shortly after the initial consultation, a test was performed in the physician’s office.  We waited for a few days to get a phone call with the test results.  Nothing.  I checked our very handy and thorough electronic chart on the John Muir Health Care website.  Nothing.  That’s when I learned that the physician was not affiliated with John Muir, but rather Hills Physicians Medical Group.  A Medical Group so outdated in technology that it does not have a website enabling patients to create an account and have access to all medical records, test results,  appointment notes/information, appointment reminders, as well as a secure email-like system for communication with any doctors and their staff.  John Muir has all of this, and it works great!

So, after a couple of weeks went by, growing ever anxious, we contacted the new physician’s office, and requested a copy of the test results.  We also requested the results via email.  What were we told?  Well, we were told that we had to make an appointment with the doctor so that he could go over the test results, that otherwise nothing would be released to us.  In other words, just another appointment so the doctor can bill.  When we informed the staff person that patient records were required by law to be released to the patient, the staff person told us “it is not our policy” to do that.

When we informed the staff person that their “policy” was in violation of HIPPA rules, her response was that she would send a message to the doctor.  The doctor did call us back and informed us that the test results were negative.  But we’ve never received the written copy of the test results we requested multiple times.  And for a medical test completed and paid for.

So here’s the deal:  Patients, and a patient’ authorized representative, are entitled by law to receive a copy of their medical records.  (With one exception to the health care records:  a mental health care professional may withhold his or her notes if the professional feels providing the notes to the patient or the patient’s designated representative,  would be harmful to the patient.)  As previously mentioned, this federal law has been on the books since HIPPA was signed into law back in 1996, some 23 years ago.  The law further states that the physician cannot charge a ‘handling’ or ‘processing’ fee for providing the records, only ‘reasonable’ copy charges.  A patient also has a right to review his/her original medical file.  This review is usually done at the location the records are stored, such as the doctor’s office.

Simply put, it is beyond sad that a board certified physician's office is out of compliance with a 23 year old law.

Timeframe?  The physician must release a copy of medical records, or permit review of original medical records, within 30 days.  If longer than 30 days is needed, the physician must provide the patient with the reason for the delay, and the records must be released/review permitted within 60 days.

Any consequences for refusal to release patient medical records?  You betchya.  And the minimum fine for willful violations of HIPPA rules is $50,000.

So know your rights when it comes to your medical records and HIPPA.  Don’t be denied what is legally yours simply because of a doctor’s office illegal “policy”.

Health Insurance Concerns?
Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

November 13, 2019

Healthier Eating and Living: Add Dark Leafy Greens to Your Diet for a Low Calorie, Yummy, and Very Nutritious Food!

Dark Leafy Greens


Adding delicious - and low calorie - nutrition to your diet is easy by incorporating dark leafy greens into your diet.  Yes, I still enjoy iceberg lettuce and butter lettuce, but include dark leafy greens in my diet each day.  And remember:  the darker the green, the more nutritious it is.

Dark leafy greens can be eaten raw, sauteed/stir fried, or incorporated into cooked and baked dishes including soups, pasta sauces, and pizzas.  An excellent source of dark leafy greens in many varieties is organicgirl triple washed greens that come in recyclable  clamshells.  Oh, and organicgirl also has more traditional lettuce mixes, including butter lettuce.  Check out the organicgirl website here.  Their website also includes great recipes.

I always have 2 different varieties of organicgirl dark leafy greens in my refrigerator.  Right now, it's organicgirl Baby Arugula and their Protein Greens.  Take a look at the Nutrition  Info for Protein Greens ... wow!

Credit: iloveorganicgirl.com

Credit:  iloveorganicgirl.com
I will be posting some easy cooking and baking times for adding dark leafy greens to your diet.  In the meantime, try some today.  And remember:  simply adding some dark leafy greens to your usual lettuce salad will add delicious flavor and nutrition.  Easy healthier eating and living!

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

November 10, 2019

Happy 7th Birthday Lexi!

💖  Lexi  💖

Lexi the Dog


A belated Happy Birthday to my Faithful Canine Princess and Loyal Companion, Lexi, who turned a wonderful 7 years old last month.

Lexi is nothing of the very skinny, thin furred, and terrified of everything dog we adopted from the Antioch Animal Shelter in October 2014.  Lexi transformed into a healthy, confident, furball of a dog.  A Forever Faithful and Loyal Canine Companion.

Thank you for adding so much to our lives, Lexi.  Love you bunches, my Chow Chow-Pomeranian mix Canine Princess!

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

November 7, 2019

Fire Safety: Smoke Detectors Save Lives. Make Sure You Have Them, And That They Work.

Smoke Detectors


Last year, I wrote about a horrific fire in Chicago in which 10 children were killed.

The fire started in an enclosed porch at the rear of the building.  It has been called the deadliest Chicago fire in more than a decade.

And working smoke detectors?  None found.

According to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spokesperson Larry Langford, the deaths and injuries could have been avoided if working smoke detectors had been in use:
"It was not hard to get out. The fire started in the rear, and the entryway to the front was wide open," Langford said. "Had they been awake or if someone had woken them, they would have gotten out."
In other words, the children would not have died in the fire had there been working smoke detectors in the home.

During a fire, a person can become unconscious and die from smoke inhalation in as little as 2 minutes.  2 minutes!  This is one life saving issue I counsel clients on when I review residential and business fire insurance.  Make sure your home and business has working smoke detectors.  If battery powered, change the batteries every 6 months.  Replace smoke detector units every 10 years, or sooner if they malfunction.

Smoke detectors.  Inexpensive and life saving.

Protect yourself and your loved ones by having working smoke detectors and adequate Fire Insurance Coverage. 

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

November 4, 2019

Fire Insurance: Do You Have Adequate Fire Insurance Coverage?

Fire Insurance


Wildfires are once again present, large and small, in both Northern and Southern California.  Anyone can be affected by these devastating events, and people simply must plan accordingly.  The Kincaid Fire in Sonoma County, California necessitated the mandatory evacuation of nearly 200,000 people.

And all this while at the same time PG&E, California's largest utility provider, shutoff electricity to many millions of people in Northern and Central California in 4 different mass "safety" power outages during October.  Some people - homes and businesses - were or have been without electricity for nearly an entire week.  Also, natural gas was shut off to many areas in Sonoma County given the Kincaid Fire.

In other words, misery upon misery.

Which all brings me to the topic of this post:  Do you have adequate Fire Insurance for your home, business, or rental property?

When is the last time you reviewed your Fire Insurance Coverage to ascertain you have adequate coverage in the event of a fire?

Fire Insurance Coverage should be periodically reviewed to ascertain you have adequate coverage in the event of losses in a fire.  The ideal time for reviewing coverage is when you receive your annual insurance policy renewal information.  Also, coverage should be reviewed if you make substantial changes to your property, including construction such as remodel and addition work.

Mary Rae Fouts, EA has 31 years of insurance industry experience.  Through her Insurance Consulting Services, Mary provides risk analysis and insurance coverage recommendations, including for Fire Insurance Coverage for homes, businesses, and rental properties.  To learn more about these services visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

November 1, 2019

Roast Turkey: Thanksgiving is Coming up. Here is How to Make Easy and Beyond Delicious Slow Roast Turkey.

Slow Roast Turkey

Easy to Make
Fall-Off-the-Bone Tender
Delicious and Flavorful
Economical
Plenty of Leftovers ("Reruns") for Future Meals
Good All Year Round - Not Just at Thanksgiving!

17-pound Diestel turkey ready to go in the oven!


All done after slow roasting for about 9 1/2 hours!


Recipe?  Check out my previous blog about roast turkey for the easy, no fail recipe.  For fruits, veggies, and herbs, this roast chicken had plenty of onion, celery, orange, lime, and fresh garden herbs including sage, bay leaf, flat leaf parsley, marjoram, and rosemary.

Make a roast turkey soon and look forward to easy, comfort food meals with the leftovers:  club sandwiches on sourdough bread, hearty "stoups" using the roast turkey au jus, BBQ turkey sandwiches on buns, turkey tacos or turkey and bean enchiladas, and chef dinner salads.  Delicious and nutritious comfort food and its finest.

Plus, your kitchen area will smell absolutely divine with the wonderful buttery aroma as the turkey slowly roasts.  The above photos are from our last Christmas turkey, but we eat turkey all year round:  whole roast turkey, roast bone-in turkey breast, boneless turkey cutlets, ground turkey burgers, and freshly-sliced turkey/smoked turkey from the my grocer Lunardi's deli.

Roast turkey:  it's not just for Thanksgiving anymore.  Perfect anytime of the year.

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

October 29, 2019

Pacific Gas and Electric Company: A Twice in Bankruptcy, Six-Time Convicted Felon That is Yet Again - For The 4th Time in 3 Weeks - Turning Much of California Into a Dystopian Third World State.

PG&E


Pacific Gas and Electric Co.


Public Safety Power Shutoffs


Yep, PG&E is once again put millions of people in Northern California and Central California at its mercy by shutting off electricity yet once again in another of it's so call "Public Safety Power Shutoff", or PSPS.  Reason? Get this:

PG&E stated the current electricity shutoff - to some 600,000 utility customers - is an "effort to stop the Kincaid fire" that is burning in Sonoma County.

Can someone please explain to me how shutting off electricity to people in Central California - hundreds of miles away from Sonoma County - and other location in Northern California nowhere near the Kincaid fire - is going to extinguish the Kincaid Fire????  Anyone???

You can read my prior post on this topic by clicking on "PG&E" or "Utility Issues" in the Blog Topics List.

But these power shutoffs aren't for public safety, in spite of the attempt at providing the event with a catchy name.  The electricity shutoffs are nothing more than an effort by PG&E to protect itself and its shareholders from liability and losses in the event PG&E utility equipment starts a fire.

Oh, and these mass power shutoffs were supposed to be a 'measure of last resort'?  Bull crap to that.  The current electricity shutoff beginning today - for some 600,000 PG&E customers, nearly 2,000,000 people - is the 4th time in just 3 weeks that PG&E has shut off power to millions of people.  I'd call that a more of an immediate go-to tactic than a tactic of last resort, wouldn't you?  Thankfully I'm not included in this current electricity shutoff.

400,000 PG&E Customers Have Been Without Power Since Saturday, October 26.  That's 1.2  MILLION Or More People.  Today Is Tuesday, October 29. As Of This Afternoon, PG&E Has No Idea When These 1.2 Million Or More People Will Have Their Electricity Restored. 

No Idea Whatsoever. None.

That's Flat Out Wrong. And It Should Be Criminally Wrong.

And to add insult to injury, some PG&E customers that have been without electricity since Saturday - and it's now Tuesday - won't even have their power restored before this current "Public Safety Power Shutoff to Protect PG&E's Arse and the Company's Shareholders " begins today.  According to the San Francisco Chronicle, as of 2 PM today (Tuesday, October 29), some 400,000 PG&E customers, both homes and businesses, including the ENTIRE COUNTY of Mendocino, have been without electricity since Saturday and PG&E has given them no idea of when electricity will return.  According to reports, Plumas and Alpine counties are both without nearly any electricity for customers.

Oh, and get this - 99% of PG&E customers in Marin County (population 2017 was about 260,000 residents) were without electricity in the outage beginning last Saturday.  Those that had their electricity restored yesterday were told it would be cut off again today, but not until 11 PM so the customers could "prepare" for another electricity shutdown.

And what did good Ol' PG&E do?  The company started shutting off electricity in Marin County at 8 AM this morning.  A full 15 hours early that the company's publicly announced electricity shutoff time.

But wait, that's not all!  The weather forecast for Northern and Central California for tonight and tomorrow night (Tuesday October 29 and Wednesday October 30) is for cold overnight temperatures.  Nighttime temperatures are forecasted to be in the upper 20s to mid 30s in the North Bay valleys, mid 30s to low 40s in the  East Bay valleys, low 30s to around 40 in the South Bay valleys, and upper 20s to around 40 in the Salinas Valley.

Which means people and and businesses will need to turn on heat to heat their homes and buildings.  But no electricity = no heat.  So PG&E customers without electricity will not only be in the dark, they'll be freezing, too.

That's all simply so cruel it is criminal.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company

Pyromaniac  .  Greedy and Price Gouging  .  Extortionist


As a society, we cannot continue to live like this, at the absolute mercy of PG&E.  How our energy regulators, politicians, and the Federal Bankruptcy Judge overseeing PG&E's bankruptcy allow the company to operate like this is beyond me.  Heck, if PG&E had its way, we'd be without electricity for a full 3 months or more from the start of August until the end of October, with a side note from PG&E "sorry for the inconvenience".  But hey, that just might be next in our new Dystopian Third World State, the New California.

As I've stated before, I have great respect - and empathy - for PG&E's rank and file workers.  Would not want any of their jobs.  But upper management, executives, and directors need to be given the boot.  And some of them criminally charged and jailed.   How can California regulators, politicians, and the Federal Bankruptcy Court allow PG&E to hold 2/3 of California in a stranglehold, and at its mercy?

California, the 5th largest economy in the world.  One of the largest and most advanced tech centers in the world.  Turned into a dystopian and apocalyptic Third World State by for-profit, inept, and incompetent Pacific Gas and Electric Company.  A utility company that is a 6-time convicted felon and is currently in Chapter 11 bankruptcy for the 2nd time.

Living the Dream, Baby.  Living the Dream.

(Post last edited to add content at 3:50 PM on October 29, 2019.)

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services (including Fire Insurance Matters), Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.


October 27, 2019

Pacific Gas and Electric Company: A Twice in Bankruptcy, Six-Time Convicted Felon That Has Yet Again Turned Much of California Into a Dystopian Third World State.

PG&E


Pacific Gas and Electric Co.


Public Safety Power Shutoffs


Yep, PG&E has once again put millions of people at its mercy by shutting off electricity yet once again in another of it's so call "Public Safety Power Shutoff", or PSPS.   You can read my prior post on this topic (from October 22, 2019) here.

But these power shutoffs aren't for public safety, in spite of the attempt at providing the event with a catchy name.  The electricity shutoffs are nothing more than an effort by PG&E to protect itself and its shareholders from liability and losses in the event PG&E utility equipment starts a fire.

Oh, and these mass power shutoffs were supposed to be a 'measure of last resort'?  Bull crap to that.  The current shutoff is the 3rd time in only 2.5 weeks that PG&E has shut off power to millions of people.  I'd call that a more of an immediate go-to tactic than a tactic of last resort, wouldn't you?

Yesterday, Saturday October 26, 2019, PG&E purposely shut off electricity to over 1,000,000 customers throughout Northern and Central California, affecting over 3 million people.  (Thankfully is not included in this electricity shutoff.)   And that 3 million people estimate is focused on the people in residences without power, assuming 3 people per residence.  How many more many millions of people have been impacted by businesses and other entities without power?  Billions of dollars lost once again in the greater economy, billions of dollars spent by local municipalities and government entities, not to mention untold dollars lost to residents and small business owners.

PG&E said the "might" be able to start restoring power on Monday, after the winds die down.  And by the way, these winds are seasonally high winds we have each and every year in parts of California.  Nothing new about this phenomenon. 


What are PG&E utility customers supposed to do?  Go back to Little House on the Prairie days with oil lanterns, outhouses, and horse and carriage transportation?

Oh, and as far as the Kincaid wildfire raging up north in Sonoma County, which has so far required some 200,000 people to evacuate?  Looks like it may have been caused by PG&E equipment, from a 'small metal clip' that malfunctioned on a live electrical transmission line.  A transmission line that was not de-powered by PG&E, even though all of the surrounding PG&E customers were without power.

Yep, a small metal clip.  That's a better story than the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 being started by Catherine O'Leary's cow that kicked over a lantern while being milked.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Pyromaniac  .  Greedy and Price Gouging  .  Extortionist



I have great respect - and empathy - for PG&E's rank and file workers.  Would not want any of their jobs.  But upper management, executives, and directors need to be given the boot.  And some of them criminally charged and jailed.   How can California regulators, politicians, and the Federal Bankruptcy Court allow PG&E to hold 2/3 of California in a stranglehold, and at its mercy?

California, the 5th largest economy in the world.  One of the largest and most advanced tech centers in the world.  Turned into a dystopian and apocalyptic Third World State by for-profit, inept, and incompetent Pacific Gas and Electric Company.  A utility company that is a 6-time convicted felon and is currently in Chapter 11 bankruptcy for the 2nd time.

Living the Dream, Baby.  Living the Dream.

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

October 22, 2019

Pacific Gas and Electric Company: A Twice in Bankruptcy, Six-Time Convicted Felon That Has Turned Much of California Into a Dystopian Third World State.

PG&E


Pacific Gas and Electric Co.


Public Safety Power Shutoffs


As in purposely shutting off electricity for days to nearly 800,000 customers, affecting some 2.5 million people. Billions of dollars lost in the greater economy, billions of dollars spent by local municipalities and government entities, not to mention untold dollars lost to residents and small business owners.   Heck, my local water district recently spent $900,000 plus to purchase generators to pump water during these PG&E shutoffs.

This will be a long post, but it's worth a read to learn about the convicted felon and for-profit utility Pacific Gas and Electric Company, or PG&E.
Never did I think I would live to see the day when 2/3 of the state of California is held hostage and at the mercy of a six-time convicted felon.

And who is the six-time convicted felon, you might ask?

None other than PG&E, or Pacific Gas and Electric Co.  A for-profit company and the largest utility supplier of electricity and natural gas in California, with customers throughout Northern and Central California.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Pyromaniac  .  Greedy and Price Gouging  .  Extortionist

Just what does PG&E stand for?  Glad you asked.

P  Pyromaniac.   Can't or otherwise refuses to maintain vegetation clearance around its utility equipment, even after being convicted of a felony after the 2010 San Bruno Fire (one of the company's 6 felony convictions) for failing to maintain vegetation clearance around its utility equipment.  The San Bruno Fire, in which a 30-inch highly pressurized PG&E natural gas distribution line exploded, burned down an entire residential neighborhood and killed 8 people.  Oh, and one of the reasons the fire was so bad is that PG&E didn't know where the shutoff valve was for the gas distribution line after the explosion.

And as for current vegetation clearance?  Well, it's 2019 and PG&E still isn't fulfilling its vegetation clearance requirements.  In a report released earlier this autumn by the US Bankruptcy Court in which PG&E is in its 2nd bankruptcy reorganization, I learned that PG&E had only completed 31% of vegetation/tree trimming around it's power lines that it was required to have completed by the end of this year.  Yep, only 31% of the yearly vegetation clearance completed and the year is 3/4, or 75%,  over.

G  Greedy.  And Gouging, as in Price Gouging.  PG&E, a utility company with an unmaintained, antiquated utility system in spite of billions of dollars paid by utility customers over the past decades for equipment improvements and maintenance.  Where has all of this money gone to?  Well, to shareholder profits, and to tony events like the recent luxurious dinner at the ultra expensive Silver Oak winery in Sonoma County, during  which a dozen or so PG&E natural gas executives entertained 60 or so of their largest natural gas customers.  And did so (1) on the 2-year anniversary of the devastating  Tubbs, Nuns, and Pocket Fires in Sonoma, Napa and Lake fires that destroyed 5,300 homes, burned 110,000 acres, and killed 44 people; and (2) as PG&E was announcing planned power (electricity) shutoffs for nearly 800,000 of its electricity customers, including yours truly, informing customers they should plan to be without electricity for up to 5 days.

Oh, as far as ratepayer price gouging?  Well, PG&E has some of the highest utility rates in the nation, and they are only going up.  Natural gas rates went up last month.  Electricity rates are going up this month, adding an estimate $9 plus dollars to every residential electric bill.

And to add insult to injury, what did I get in the mail during the recent power shutoff?  Well of course, my PG&E bill.

I can only guess what is coming next.  (1)  An electric rate increase to make up for the lack of revenue PG&E has had during its unnecessary, self-imposed power (electricity) shutoffs.  (2)  How much you want to bet PG&E is going to develop some proprietary 'models' that somehow predict a possibility for an earthquake, and that they start shutting off natural gas to wide areas, same as they due to electricity now?

Yep, more ways to keep utility customers on their knees, at the mercy of PG&E.

E  Extortionist.  PG&E customers in Northern and Central California are now at the mercy of PG&E, for shutoff of all electricity due to supposed weather conditions that may spark wildfires.  Never did I think I would see the headline story in the San Francisco Chronicle in which the PG&E CEO stated that these Planned Power Shutoffs would continue in Northern and Central California for 10 more years.  In other words, a new, Third World style, ways of life for PG&E utility customers.  Here's the mind numbing headline:



During the recent shutoffs that began October 9, PG&E started alerting the public that power (electricity) shutoffs would begin as soon as 12:01 AM Wednesday, October 9, and that customers should be prepared to be without electricity for at least 5 days.  Reason given?  Extreme weather conditions forecasted (heat and wind), and PG&E couldn't risk a wild fire starting, or vegetation that it had not cleared falling into its utility equipment and possibly sparking a fire.  Pleasant Hill, where I live and also maintain my home office (my husband Jim has a home office, too), was included in the electricity shutoff map.  

And as for these extreme weather conditions?  Well, on the day my electricity was shutoff by PG&E, my backyard weather station recorded a maximum wind gust of 8.1 degrees, and a high temperature of 79.3 degrees.  Hardly extreme weather conditions.

So on Tuesday, October 8, I was forced to shut my home office to prepare for the shutoff.  Baked sourdough sandwich loaf bread, sourdough Italian focaccia bread, mixed up sourdough pizza dough for skillet pizzas, bought groceries and ice, made reusable containers full of ice, dialed my chest freezer down, dialed the gas water heater to its hottest setting, made sure we had batteries, emergency equipment, food and an emergency supply of water, gas in the vehicles, and the rechargeable USB charger charged up.  Oh, and the 30 year old corded phone to plug into our home land line, which we have kept, one reason for emergency communication purposes.

And updating my email, voicemail, and website about the office closure for an unknown length of time.  And, during the week immediately before the October 15, 2019 tax due date for extended 2018 tax returns that I was in the process of completing for clients.

We were without electricity during the shutoff for 2 days.  Power was shutoff at my home and in a large part of south Pleasant Hill on Wednesday, October 9 through Thursday, October 10. 

Electricity was also shutoff to my neighbor fire station, Fire Station #2.  Had to run off of a diesel generator.  Fire Station #2 is on Geary Road, at Dorothy Road in Pleasant Hill.  No power to the fire station and adjacent south Pleasant Hill, but walk across Geary Road into Walnut Creek (Geary Road is a border between PH and WC), and everyone had electricity.

What utility company willfully shuts off
electricity to a Fire Station?
As in shuts off electricity to a Fire Station on purpose?
 

Oh, and before and during the shutoff, PG&E's communication came in the form of pre-recorded messages sent to phones, and similar text messages.  The messages instructed the receiver to go the the PG&E website for more information.  A website was continuously down before and during the power shutoffs.  PG&E's excuse for the website outage?  They upped their website servers to handle just double the visits they normally receive.  They didn't think they would receive 7 to 8 times for visitors to their website.

No kidding.  Some 2.5 million people without electricity, and PG&E only thinks their website visits will double.  Even though these 2.5 million people were told to go to the same website for information about the power shutoff.

Oh, and municipal governments and first responders had the same problem.  They were also told to go to the PG&E website for information.  So the power outage situation was generally as much of an unknown for these entities as it was for everyone else such as me.  Amazing, huh?

If PG&E can't even run a website, how can the company possibly run a mega gas and electric utility company?

At this point, Jim and I have no choice but to install a whole house generator run off natural gas.  We can't keep a home and 2 home based businesses running with days long electricity shutoffs by for-profit PG&E.  Whole house generator on the purchase list for next spring.  A couple other home maintenance and repair issues to fix first.

I have great respect - and empathy - for PG&E's rank and file workers.  Would not want any of their jobs.  But upper management, executives, and directors need to be given the boot.  And some of them criminally charged and jailed.   How can California regulators, politicians, and the Federal Bankruptcy Court allow PG&E to hold 2/3 of California in a stranglehold, and at its mercy?

California, the 5th largest economy in the world.  One of the largest and most advanced tech centers in the world.  Turned into a dystopian and apocalyptic Third World State by for-profit, inept, and incompetent Pacific Gas and Electric Company.  

Living the Dream, Baby.  Living the Dream.

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

October 20, 2019

Life Insurance Litigation: Are You Looking For an Expert Witness? Meet Mary Rae Fouts, EA

Life Insurance Litigation.
Life Insurance Arbitration.
Elder Financial Abuse
Life Insurance Expert Witness.


Are you looking for a Life Insurance Expert Witness to address Life Insurance Litigation or Arbitration Matters, or related Elder Financial Abuse Matters?

Mary Rae Fouts, EA has 31 years of experience addressing insurance concerns for clients throughout the United States.  She provides Life Insurance Consulting Services, in addition to Expert Witness Services for Life Insurance Litigation and Arbitration Matters, including Elder Financial Abuse Matters.

Mary has provided Expert Witness Services in federal courts, state courts, and arbitration venues throughout the United States.  She welcomes your call at (510) 421-5457 or email to Mary@FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Concerned About Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

October 17, 2019

Sid the Dog: My Home Office Buddy!

Sid the Dog.


My goofy Husky-Malamute Mix Faithful Canine Companion.  Best Canine Buddy to Chow Chow-Pomeranian Mix Lexi.

Sid recently turned 8 years old, a wonderful canine age, for sure.  Here he is recently, snoozing next to me in my Home Office before our long morning walk.



Good Boy, Sid!  Thank you for your Unconditional Love and Loyal Canine Companionship.

Unconditional Love is as close as your nearest Animal Shelter.  Please adopt, don't shop.

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts

October 12, 2019

I am Currently Assisting Tax Clients Only Until October 17, 2019. 2018 Individual Income Tax Returns on Extension Are Due Tuesday, October 15, 2019.

2018 Individual Income Tax Returns on Extension.

Assisting Current Tax Clients Only Through Wednesday, October 16.

(Updated October 14, 2019 1:00 PM)

If you filed extensions for your 2018 Individual Income Taxes, the returns must be filed no later than Tuesday, October 15, 2019.

FEDERAL TAXES:  As of Saturday morning, October 12, the IRS had not yet extended the October 15 tax deadline for taxpayers affected by PG&E's power shut off in California that began at 12:01 AM on Wednesday, October 9, and is expected to last 7 days or more in some areas.  If the IRS does grant an extended extension filing for California taxpayers affected by the power outage (2.5 million people were impacted, including yours truly), it will be posted on the IRS website:  www.irs.gov.

CALIFORNIA STATE TAXES:  The California Franchise Tax Board IS PROVIDING RELIEF FOR THE OCTOBER 15 TAX DUE DATE for California Taxpayers impacted by the recent Public Safety Outage.   Information about this program is on the FTB website here.

My home and home office were significantly impacted by PG&E's self-imposed power (electricity) outage that began on Wednesday, October 9 at 12:01 AM.  Due to the lack of electricity in my home and home office, my office was forced to close for several days.  Given the tax work I was unable to complete during this forced closure, and the resultant backlog of Client tax work, I will be assisting current tax clients only from today, Saturday October 12 through the end of the day on Wednesday, October 16.  Phone calls, emails, and texts regarding insurance, annuity, expert witness services, and other issues received during this time will be addressed beginning Thursday, October 17.    

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.

Mary Rae Fouts