Response to Bryson’s attempt to link Terrorist Attacks, Edison Bailout
October 1, 2001
Mr. John Bryson
Southern California Edison
2244 Walnut Grove
Rosemead, CA 91771
Phone: (626) 302-2265
Fax: (626) 302-9935
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?
We refer to your 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.
Your September 21, 2001 letter, recruiting Edison shareholders to your lobbying campaign, urges them to contact their lawmakers with the message that failure to pass the bailout would be “irresponsible and destabilizing…particularly during this time of national and economic uncertainty.” “During this time of national crisis we need stability in the California electric system. An Edison bankruptcy will destabilize that essential system.”
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. Perhaps it is unrealistic of us to expect you to perceive any boundaries in your desperate quest for a bailout. But we cannot permit you to drape the flag of this grieving country around Edison as if its bankruptcy would be the equivalent of the disaster of September 11, or that saving your company from insolvency would make any difference in America’s effort to face the profound challenges ahead.
These are indeed difficult times for the People of California. As a result of the 1996 deregulation law, which Edison lobbyists wrote, sponsored and shoved through the Legislature under your personal command, California consumers and taxpayers are struggling to pay the massive rate increases created by deregulation’s collapse, while the cost of deregulated energy that you refused to buy has blown a $10 billion hole in the State Treasury, jeopardizing the “education, emergency services, police and fire” programs you mention in your letter — and many other crucial programs besides. This is a financial burden on Californians that comes on top of everything else that every American citizen must grapple with in these dark days and the months to come. Having reaped the rewards of deregulation — $10 billion since 1996 — you now seek to dump its losses on ratepayers through legislation that will force all ratepayers, small and large, to pay tens of billions of dollars more for electricity over the next twenty years.
Bailing out Edison is the last thing Californians can afford in what you refer to as “these difficult times.”
For months, your contemptible cause has distracted lawmakers from the many truly serious challenges confronting the state. This latest, and most repulsive, of Edison‘s unrelenting efforts to obtain a legislative bailout will not succeed. Californians are overwhelmingly opposed to it, as are responsible members of the Legislature who respect and value their constituents’ views. Rather than waste more taxpayer money in a special legislative session, accept the defeat of your proposal, make the immediate apology you owe to the people of New York, Washington, D.C. and California, then face the responsibility to resolve your problems at your own expense.