sunflower

CALIFORNIA
ENERGY
CRISIS

FACT: The CA energy industry wrote the skewed electricity deregulation law (Assembly Bill 1890) in 1996.

FACT: AB 1890 was implemented in 1998. California became the FIRST US State to deregulate.

FACT: Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), San Diego Gas & Electric (SDGE), and the energy industry forced the "deregulation" through the California Legislature.

FACT: They reaped financial rewards for years. Then the companies and their shareholders bore the consequences.

FACT: Until June 2000, California deregulation was a license to steal. It froze residential and small business electricity rates at record high levels through 2002.

FACT: It forced customers to pay off over $20 billion in the utilities' bad debts ($9 billion for PG&E alone).

Resources

California Sunset

CA Energy Crisis Timeline

Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights FTCR

It's electric!FACT: PG&E, SCE, and SDGE are the nation's first, second and sixteenth largest investor-owned electricity utilities.

FACT: PG&E declared bankruptcy - but the third largest utility bankruptcy in American history didn't have to happen.

Its parent company (created to take advantage of deregulation) has over $30 billion in assets. Much of this money was siphoned out of the utility subsidiary. PG&E even gave raises and bonuses to over 6,000 employees hours before filing bankruptcy.

It could have bailed itself out, but chose not to. Bankruptcy was a political choice.

San FranciscoFACT: The state of CA reached a $2.76 billion deal to buy SCE's transmission wires. It's a costly ratepayer-funded bailout of Edison. The price is 230% times the assessed value of the lines.

FACT: California utilities CHOSE to sell off most of their power plants. These plants were built over previous decades with ratepayer money, and have been sold to energy companies based in other states.

FACT: California's energy crisis was MANUFACTURED by a handful of private companies in the name of higher profits.

FACT: PG&E made radical cuts to their energy CONSERVATION and demand-side management (DSM) program. One of the world's leading technical and implementation entities for energy efficiency with over 400 employees now only has a handful of employees dedicated to this activity.

FACT: Electricity rates in California have increased between 30% and 150%. Places in CA with municipal utilities (not subject to deregulation) have had NO rate increases and NO blackouts.

California SunsetFACT: CA still leads in RENEWABLE ENERGY with:

  • over 1500 MW of geothermal
  • over 3000 MW of Wind
  • over 800 MW of biomass-electricity
  • over 350 MW of solar thermal electric and photovoltaics
  • over 200 MW in solar water heating

FACT: The cost of producing solar power has been plummeting. The market for solar cells grew 44 percent in 2000.

FACT: CA is invested $850 million to boost conservation efforts in 2001. The money beefed up existing conservation programs.

Rooftop with solar cellsFACT: What CA needs is an authority (such as a public power agency) that will focus on CONSERVATION and RENEWABLE technologies and establish regulatory protections for small consumers.

Also be sure to read the
CA Energy Crisis Timeline

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