Gone, But Not Forgotten: Edison CEO’s Statements on Deregulation

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Edison representatives claim that the California Public Utilities Commission forced the state’s utilities into deregulation with a December 1995 order, against the recommendation of the utilities. In fact, after the state PUC gave the go-ahead to end government regulation of electricity in December 1995, Edison CEO John Bryson told the LA Times that the move was:

“the best, soundest way to move to a desirable competitive market that will benefit all customers, large and small…Southern California Edison…is committed to a 25% rate reduction effective Jan 1, 2000. As near as we’re able to tell, this is consistent with our goal.”

Los Angeles Times, 12/21/95 p.D1

In December, 2000, Edison CEO John Bryson told Californians, in a high visibility advertising campaign, that Edison merely cooperated with the state’s legislated deregulation plan. In fact, when Governor Wilson signed AB 1890 in 1996, Bryson hailed it as:

“a great day for us.”

He called deregulation:

“a large achievement and a sound achievement for the state in terms of giving customers choice.”

(both OC Metro 10/15/96).

Edison also states that the company was forced to divest its power plants, which has allowed the new owners of Edison‘s former plants to withhold power and increase the market price for energy. However, when Edison decided to sell its oil and gas plants in Oxnard, California, in 1996 Mr. Bryson said in a statement:

“We believe this plan is the best way to facilitate a smooth, timely transition to a competitive electricity market and maximize value for our shareholders and customers.”

Thousand Oaks Star 11/22/96

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