Proposition 80: Energy Re-regulation

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Consumer advocates backing Proposition 80 say it will help California regain control of the electricity market. Prop. 80 campaign spokesman Lenny Goldberg says the measure would rollback de-regulation.  “Proposition 80 is on the ballot to make sure that we never go there again.”
Prop 80 requires electric service providers be regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission. The measure also bans large commercial customers from participating in so-called “direct access” contracts. The contracts allow them to negotiate power-purchasing deals with electricity providers other than their regular utility.  Goldberg says this will stabilize the electricity market. “And the reason for that is the utilities have to know who their customer base is, in order to build enough power to plan for the future.”
But “No on Prop 80” campaign manager Dan Pellisier says getting rid of “direct access” would result in higher rates for commercial customers and threaten the state’s improving business climate.  He says Prop. 80 will just create more problems.  “So it’s not going to reduce folks’ costs. And it’s going to interrupt the planning process that has been going on for four years at the Public Utilities Commission to get the plants built we need for the future.”
The measure’s opponents include the state Public Utilities’ Commission, which says it will hinder its own efforts to control the energy market.  Other opponents include companies like Duke Energy.