Citizen Group Condemns Tactic
Read Bryson’s Letter: Page 1,Page 2
In a desperate effort to generate pressure on state lawmakers for a $6 billion ratepayer bailout, Edison‘s top executive is attempting to link the utility company’s financial health to the nation’s security in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
In a letter to shareholders urging them to lobby for the bailout of Southern California Edison, Edison International CEO John Bryson instructs them to tell legislators that, “During this time of national crisis we need stability in the California electric system. An Edison bankruptcy will destabilize that essential system.” He continues: “[T]ell your Senator” that failure to pass the bailout would be “irresponsible and destabilizing…particularly during this time of national and economic uncertainty.”
The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, a non-profit citizen advocacy group which has fought the bailout, condemned Bryson’s tactics as a “cynical effort to portray a bailout of Southern California Edison as a matter of national security and patriotic duty in light of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.”
In a letter to Bryson this morning, FTCR President Harvey Rosenfield wrote, “That you would dare equate what has happened to this nation in the last three weeks with your company’s self-inflicted financial wounds is a grievous offense to the memories of the six thousand men, women and children who were killed on September 11, and to their next of kin.”
“Is there no limit to the depths to which you will sink in your greed-driven quest to force the ratepayers of California to pay for the monetary losses your company incurred as a result of your mismanagement and avarice?”
Noting the tremendous cost Edison wishes to impose on ratepayers through SB 78xx, the letter concludes, “Bailing out Edison is the last thing Californians can afford in what you refer to as ‘these difficult times.'” The group urged Bryson to accept the defeat of the bailout legislation, issue a public apology and face responsibility for its own mistakes.
The state Senate refused to go along with the bailout before adjourning; Governor Davis called a third special session (XXX) next week to try to revive the deal.