California Supreme Court Orders CPUC to Respond to Lawsuit By FTCR
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NEWS RELEASE
Jun 27, 2002


CONTACT: Harvey Rosenfield - 310-392-0522

California Supreme Court Orders CPUC to Respond to Lawsuit By FTCR

Lawsuit challenges the authority of the CPUC to secretly authorize ratepayer bailouts of utility companies

In its lawsuit filed in the California Supreme Court on April 11, FTCR pointed out that Art. III, Section 3.5 of the California Constitution, the 1996 deregulation law and other statutes prohibit the CPUC from making secret deals with the utility companies to force ratepayers to cover the utilities' deregulation losses -- an estimated $10 billion. FTCR asked the Supreme Court to order the CPUC to obey all state laws, including those that require public hearings on all rate issues.

The Court ordered the CPUC to file its brief by July 12, and permitted FTCR to reply by July 19.

(In response to the FTCR lawsuit, the CPUC initially told the Supreme Court that it would hold a public hearing on the PG&E bankruptcy plan, which had been developed in secret. However, the CPUC proceeded to file its plan with the bankruptcy court, and announced afterward that it would give the public an opportunity to comment. Just a few days later, CPUC lawyers told the federal bankruptcy judge that the CPUC would stand by the plan regardless of what happened at the hearing, in effect contradicting its own position before the state high court).

"The court's action today shows that it is actively considering the issues raised by our petition," said Harvey Rosenfield. "We are asking the Supreme Court to ensure that the CPUC obeys our constitution and laws."

A copy of the letter is available at www.consumerwatchdog.org or from Doug Heller 310-392-0522, ext. 309

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