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Sep 15, 2001
RATEPAYERS AVERT MULTI-BILLION $ EDISON BAILOUT
Citizen Group Hails Public and Senate Leadership, Sees Energy Challenges AheadThe California Senate put an end to a multi-million dollar, nine-month campaign by S. California Edison to force ratepayers to pay off it's deregulation debts when the Senate refused to approve bailout legislation late Friday night before it adjourned for the year.
The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, a non-profit citizen organization which strenously opposed the bailout legislation this year and recently established a Sacramento "war room" to coordinate it's volunteer-based campaign, spearheaded by The Oaks Project, applauded the Senate's decision and credited the public for making sure it's views on the bailout were heard by elected officials.
"The Senate showed common sense in protecting residential and small business ratepayers against being forced to pay at least $6 billion in rate increases," said Doug Heller, who coordinated FTCR's campaign against the bill. "The massive public opposition to the bailout was heard loud and clear in Sacramento. Senators understood that ratepayers had already paid enough for the collosal failure of deregulation. Edison reaped the rewards of the deregulation law it wrote - billions of dollars. It is only fair that Edison bear the responsibility for it's losses."
Responding to the statements that the Governor may seek to resurrect the deal, FTCR said. "It's time to move on. There is much more important work requiring Governor Davis's leadership."
Group Hails Senate Leadership
FTCR's Harvey Rosenfield hailed the leadership of Senate President John Burton. "Throughout this difficult year, Burton has been steadfast in his protection of ratepayers against the costly collapse of deregulation. And he successfully shepherded legislation, sponsored by Treasurer Phil Angelides and supported by consumer groups, to create a public power authority that will protect California's economy against price-gouging in the future. Burton is truly a hero for the state's taxpayers and ratepayers."
Next Objective: Reducing Rates, Restoring Reliable System
FTCR said much remained to be done to restore a reliable and affordable energy system and to reverse the circumstances that enabled a handful of private energy companies to reap windfall profits through artificial energy shortages and massive price increases. "We need to get electricity rates back down and get the energy system back in our control.", Heller and Rosenfield said.
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