Edison Customers Should Not Face Another Rate Increase
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NEWS RELEASE
Dec 18, 2001


CONTACT: Doug Heller - 310-392-0522 x309

Edison Customers Should Not Face Another Rate Increase

Consumers Are Not Edison's ATM Machine
Southern California Edison is petitioning the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for an 18% rate increase to be tacked onto consumer bills beginning in 2003. Consumer advocates are outraged by the proposal, citing the billions of dollars the company is currently collecting as part of a bailout agreement signed by Edison and the PUC. The bailout settlement has been challenged in federal court by the Utility Reform Network.

"Edison customers should not be forced to bear any more rate increases, after facing the largest rate hikes in California history earlier this year and being forced to pay for the failure of Edison's deregulation scheme," said Doug Heller, a consumer advocate with the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights. "Edison pushed the deregulation law with the promise of rate decreases, yet consumers have only seen rate hikes. The PUC must deny this request and stop Edison from digging any deeper into ratepayer's wallets."

With rates at an all time high, it is deceptive to assert, as Edison has, that the current request will not increase rates, according to FTCR. As a result of the PUC's bailout deal with Edison, energy rates are dramatically higher than the actual cost of electricity. Extending these high rates means that consumers will pay hundreds of millions of dollars more for electricity in 2003 alone.

"No matter how Edison spins this rate hike plan, the company wants to add new charges to customers bills and collect another $500 million a year from ratepayers. Edison keeps coming back for more money as though consumers are the company's ATM machines," said Heller.

FTCR will ask the PUC to deny this rate hike request.

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