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Mar 26, 2003

CONTACT: Harvey Rosenfield - 310-392-0522

FERC Admits Energy Ripoff But Davis Wants Consumers To Pay

FTCR Says Davis Should Reverse Support for Utility Bailouts, Get Money Back to Consumers
Santa Monica, CA. -- Now that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has acknowledged that energy companies created the electricity crisis in 2001, Governor Davis should stop insisting that ratepayers pay the $45 billion cost of the crisis, the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) said today.

Gov. Davis has frequently blamed FERC and the energy companies for the energy debacle. But as recently as last week, Davis urged the California Supreme Court to uphold an illegal deal made by Davis's PUC which forces residential ratepayers to pay off the $3.6 billion in deregulation debts of Southern California Edison. He has offered a similar deal to PG&E that will cost its residential customers as much as $10 billion.

California consumers have paid a total of $70 billion in extra costs from the deregulation debacle (the cost of the energy crisis of 2001 plus other costs associated with the 1996 deregulation law).

FTCR, which successfully blocked Davis-backed legislation to bail out Edison in 2001, said that "if Davis wants to save the public some money, he should withdraw his support for the illegal bailout engineered by his Public Utilities Commission, which the 9th Circuit has determined to be illegal and which is now before the California Supreme Court."

"Why should the innocent victims of the energy rip-off be forced to pay for it?" said Harvey Rosenfield, FTCR president. "As Gov. Davis himself has said, the culprits in this stupendous rip-off were the energy companies, and they should be the ones to pay for the utilities' losses under deregulation. Instead, the Governor wants residential and small business ratepayers to pick up the tab for Edison and PG&E's losses -- estimated at $15 billion -- after these two companies pocketed over $20 billion in gains from deregulation. The utility companies opened the door to the crooks by sponsoring the 1996 deregulation law. Let the utilities collect the money from the energy companies -- not from California's consumers, who have so far picked up the entire tab for the deregulation disaster."

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