State Agency Seeks Unilateral Right to Raise Rates Without Regulatory Oversight, Approval
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NEWS RELEASE
Jul 19, 2001


CONTACT: Harvey Rosenfield - 310-392-0522 x

State Agency Seeks Unilateral Right to Raise Rates Without Regulatory Oversight, Approval

Consumer Groups Call Proposal "The Ultimate Deregulation Disaster"
The proposed "DWR Rate Agreement" announced by the PUC today would strip the California Public Utilities Commission of its constitutional responsibility to protect the public from unjustified rate increases, and would give DWR, an unaccountable state agency run by the Governor, the authority to unilaterally order electricity rate increases for the next fifteen years, citizen advocates said this afternoon. FTCR urged members of the Public Utilities Commission to reject the proposal, calling it "the ultimate deregulation disaster."

"It was deregulation which got us into the mess we are in today. Now, Wall Street is demanding that the Public Utilities Commission be forced to surrender its authority and legal responsibility, set forth in the California Constitution, to regulate rates," said Harvey Rosenfield, FTCR advocate. "This proposal, driven by energy companies and Wall Street investment firms, would strip the PUC of its regulatory authority. Instead, the state Department of Water and Power (DWR), a secretive agency of dubious competence controlled by the Governor and completely unaccountable to the public, will be given the power to unilaterally order rate increases to cover not only its power purchases -- which have been revealed as inflated and often amatuerish -- but also any other expenses, such as salaries, perks, etc. Indeed, it was reported today that DWR has recently sold power it bought at inflated prices, using taxpayer dollars, for next to nothing."

"Members of the Public Utilities Commission must act independently to preserve their historic authority -- and responsibility -- to protect the ratepayers of California by rejecting this dangerous proposal."

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