Re-Regulation and Public Power
California’s electricity crisis is not a result of supply shortages; it is due to the design of our electricity system. To date we have provided the nation with an example of what not to do. We must do better this time. In the wake of the failure of the deregulation experiment, California must develop a system that ensures a reliable and reasonably priced supply of energy. Consumer groups, including FTCR, The Utility Reform Network, Consumers Union and CalPIRG have set out the following two-part plan:
- Require PG&E and Edison to sell the power they generate to their core customers, homeowners, renters, and small businesses, on a cost plus reasonable rate of return basis subject to rate making by the P.U.C. This will stabilize prices for California ratepayers at lower prices than they now face and protect consumers from price gouging by out-of-state suppliers. The state should also provide Californians who are on fixed incomes, retirees and low-income consumers with additional financial assistance to help with increased electric/utility bills. Click here to learn more about the Small Consumer Protection Act of 2001.
- Create a public power authority that will:
- Be authorized to purchase the electricity transmission system;
- Build, to own and operate, power plants on a cost of service basis;
- Institute “Integrated Resource Planning” to project demand and identify the appropriate actions needed to meet that demand. Resource planning includes conservation efforts, energy efficiency programs for residential and commercial consumers and the building of new plants that utilize renewable resources;
- Contract with companies operating existing plants for reasonable electricity rates or, if the companies refuse, condemn the plants and generate power from these facilities on a cost of service basis.