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Aug 29, 2000

CONTACT: Jamie Court - 310-392-0522 x327

New Utility Rate Plan Takes Too Much From Consumers

Assembly Bill 265 (Alpert & Davis), which passed the Senate 30-0 today, has serious flaws for ratepayers. The bill does not codify a "hold harmless clause" that protects ratepayers now and in the future from paying off lost utility profits;

o states "the accounting procedure and review shall provide a reasonable opportunity for San Diego Gas and Electric Company to recover its reasonable and prudent costs of service over a reasonable period of time," potentially opening the door to ratepayers shouldering interest payments for lost utility profits;

o allows the PUC great latitude to raise the rate cap and charge ratepayers more, when the Commission has already demonstrated a propensity to put the interests of generators above ratepayers;

o applies a rate cap that is 200% more than ratepayers were paying one year ago.

"This legislation cedes too much ground to the utility industry," said Jamie Court, executive director for FTCR. "It gives far too much latitude to a pro-industry Public Utilities Commission to raise rates at will. It is very like to result in balloon payments for ratepayers to make-up lost utility profits."


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