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Dec 17, 2000

CONTACT: Doug Heller - 310-392-0522 x309

Edison CEO Should be Ousted, Citizen Group Says

Bankruptcy Threat, Backed by Expensive TV Ads, Sparking Credit Crunch
Southern California Edison's CEO's threats of looming bankruptcy, backed by an expensive new TV campaign, have misled the public and exacerbated California's electricity crisis in recent days, a citizen group said today. Calling the behavior "incalculably reckless and irresponsible," The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights called for the ouster of John Bryson, the CEO of Edison International.

FTCR, a non-profit, non-partisan organization, said that Edison's threat of looming bankruptcy was "simply false." Seventy percent of Edison's electricity is supplied by its own plants, which Edison is selling and buying back at the market price. On Thursday, the utility issued a dividend on its preferred stock. And now the company has begun an apparent multi-million dollar television campaign -- the company has refused our requests to say the exact cost -- informing the public of its financial woes. Not only is Edison's campaign a lie, designed to pressure state officials for another ratepayer bailout, but its has exacerbated the crisis."

Threats Sparked Credit Crunch

The organization noted that last week, independent power suppliers threatened to cease selling power to California because of fears that the utilities would be unable to pay for the power.

"Bryson's irresponsible and reckless statements have frightened not just the public but have also clearly been heard and taken seriously by the other companies. This is unacceptable behavior by the CEO of Edison," said FTCR President Harvey Rosenfield

"Bryson's leadership on behalf of Edison pushed the deregulation law through Sacramento four years ago. Now his creation has caused an energy crisis in California, a crisis he is exacerbating. The Board of Directors should remove Bryson from his position within the company. Edison's customers as well as its investors deserve better leadership in this crisis," concluded Rosenfield.


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