Bailout Watch #77 – Sep 12, 2001

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BAILOUT WATCH: Keeping an eye on the energy industry and the politicians

Bailout Watch #77 – Sep 12, 2001


"We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor"
— The last words of The Declaration of Independence

Bailout Price Tag: $6 Billion + $50 billion. The Edison bailout approved by the Assembly and sent over to the Senate sweetened the bailout to $6 billion for Edison. And to get business support for the bailout, the bill lets big users of electricity escape paying for those inflated energy contracts purchased on their behalf by the Governor. That sticks the $50 – $100 billion tab on the residential and small business ratepayers — we are the deep pockets for the state.

Click here for a Fact Sheet on the Bailout Bill
Cllick here to read our memo to Senators to oppose the Bailout
Click here to read our rebuttal to the politicians’ arguments on why a bailout is necessary

The Legislature has four more days to pass the Edison bailout bill — for a list of phone numbers to contact your state Senators, click:

The B-Word. While Edison deploys Gov. Davis to secure state senators’ support for a $6 billion bailout, an unprecedented number of public relations flacks for Edison have reached out to the news media, including, we are informed, newspaper publishers. One of their biggest complaints: that reporters are unfairly calling the Edison bailout a bailout. Edison thinks the B-word is unfair and prefers the phrase "restore to financial solvency" or, if pressed, "rescue." (Everyone feels good about rescuing somebody, right?) Since large majorities of Californians polled are opposed to a bailout, Edison thinks that if newspapers call it something else, everybody will be fooled and no one will object if the politicians pass a BAILOUT. That’s why so many Assembly Democrats objected to the use of the word BAILOUT during the Assembly’s debate on the measure. (If you happen to communicate with your state Senators, tell them you won’t put up with any Orwellian double-speak).

Watchdogs on the prowl: The calm before the storm. With plenty of other things happening in the Capitol Monday, there was not much going on publicly surrounding the Edison bailout. But, be sure, the utility lobby is hard at work, with special phone calls to Senators over the weekend and a platoon of lobbyists walking the halls and greasing the engine. And not only the utilities; big businesses, which were the beneficiaries of a lesser publicized giveaway as part of the Edison plan in the Assembly, began hustling their votes in every corner of the Capitol.

The Bailout Watchdog is Watching and will report back every day as the "California Large Energy Consumers Association" the California Chamber of Commerce and other big business groups attempt to get out of this crisis with only limited pain, leaving the bulk of the multi-billion dollar cost on small business and residential consumers, i.e., you.

Wright on the PUC [Rated R]. The Bailout Watch is usually a family-friendly newsletter, but the following quote requires parental guidance. Speaking to (at) citizen volunteers who had come to Sacramento to oppose the Edison bailout, Assembly Utilities Committee Chairman Roderick Wright responded angrily to the argument that Edison’s $37 billion parent company is required to protect the utility’s solvency under state Public Utilities Commission regulations. "The PUC is full of shit," said Wright, deeply impressing the citizens with his thoughtful and articulate analysis. Because Wright, a Democrat, has been such an utter and reliable toady for the utility companies, there is speculation that President Bush will appoint him to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Everybody makes mistakes, but not everybody has to pay for them. Had some financial reverses lately? Get the California Gold Card from Gray Davis. Every month, the state of California will calculate how much you’ve lost, and bill the state’s taxpayer and consumers.
Click here to download details in .pdf format
Cllick here to download the application in .pdf format


Judgment Day
418 Days Until November 5, 2002

Consumer Watchdog
Consumer Watchdog
Providing an effective voice for American consumers in an era when special interests dominate public discourse, government and politics. Non-partisan.

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