Watchdog Group Pledges To Battle Against Edison Aid : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Watchdog Group Pledges To Battle Against Edison Aid

(KFWB) 8.28.01, 7:35a --

A group that has been a frequent critic of the state government's handling of power problems says it will fight lawmakers' efforts to provide financial aid to the state's second largest utility, Southern California Edison.

The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, a Santa Monica-based group, says it will lobby Sacramento lawmakers to oppose plans to allow Edison to issue more than $2 billion in bonds to pay off debts.

Edison says it owes $3.9 billion due to high wholesale electricity bills and capped consumer rates.

The Assembly Energy Costs and Availability Committee is considering a rescue bill. Debate ended Monday without a vote, and resumes today.

The watchdog group says it cannot accept any bill if taxpayers are asked to take on a financial burden. If a rescue bill passes, the group says it will sponsor a statewide ballot initiative to reverse it.

More than half of California voters believe an Edison rescue plan could make matters worse, according to a poll paid for by three power generators. Nearly one-third of the 1,200 voters polled said they would be somewhat less likely to reelect lawmakers who support an Edison rescue plan.

There are two bills floating through Sacramento.

An Assembly bill would allow Edison to issue $2.9 billion in bonds, which would be paid back by Edison customers who use more than 20 kilowatt hours of electricity -- excluding residential customers.

The Senate plan would allow Edison $2.5 billion in bonds and give the state the option to purchase Edison's transmission lines in the next five years. The bonds would be paid by about 1,500 commercial and industrial customers in the state that have electric loads above 500 kilowatt hours.

-- PHO (, August 28, 2001

Moderation questions? read the FAQ