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Government Deregulation

CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 2, 2001 | NANCY RIVERA BROOKS and NANCY VOGEL, TIMES STAFF WRITERS
The state Public Utilities Commission is challenging several of the state's long-term contracts with electricity generators because the prices and terms may not be good for consumers, commission President Loretta Lynch said Monday. Also on Monday, two consumer groups called for a state investigation of potential conflict-of-interest violations that the groups said should void some contracts.
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BUSINESS
October 2, 2001 | NANCY RIVERA BROOKS, TIMES STAFF WRITER
California's top utility regulator on Monday blasted the bankruptcy reorganization plan filed by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. as a "corporate shell game" designed to avoid state oversight. What's more, the PG&E Corp. subsidiary's claim that customer rates would not rise under the plan is based on a faulty premise about the wholesale price of power, Loretta Lynch, president of the state Public Utilities Commission, said at a news conference in San Francisco.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 29, 2001 | NANCY VOGEL and JERRY HIRSCH, TIMES STAFF WRITERS
Five big energy companies owed hundreds of millions of dollars by Southern California Edison pushed the utility a step closer to bankruptcy Friday by asking Edison to sign an agreement spelling out how each will be repaid. The companies demanded that Edison meet with them within two weeks to work out a repayment plan and implied that otherwise they would drag the Rosemead-based utility into Bankruptcy Court.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 25, 2001 | TIM REITERMAN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
The state of California filed a $179.4-million claim Monday seeking repayment for power purchased for Pacific Gas & Electric Co. customers in the first two months after PG&E filed for bankruptcy. California Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer said the claim covers purchases made by the state Department of Water Resources between April 6--the date of PG&E's bankruptcy filing--and May 31.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 24, 2001 | GEORGE SKELTON
Political guru Richie Ross advises legislators to run if they see any bill that looks like a utility bailout. Don't touch it even if the house leader begs or the governor berates. " 'Bailout' is a bad word," Ross says. "Voters don't feel they've been treated fairly by utilities. They figure utilities have brought it all on themselves. . . . 'Bailout' to the voters means 'we pay'--no matter how it's structured." Voters--if that means taxpayers--do not pay, really.
BUSINESS
September 22, 2001 | JERRY HIRSCH, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Southern California Edison creditors said Friday that the company should call a meeting to begin work on a joint plan to return the insolvent utility to fiscal health, a process they believe can start without a bankruptcy filing. Creditors said they are reluctant to file an involuntary-bankruptcy petition against SCE until the state Legislature makes one last effort to agree on a rescue plan. Additionally, the creditors said they want to see how a plan unveiled by Pacific Gas & Electric Co.
NEWS
September 22, 2001 | RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Patrick H. Wood III, the former Texas regulator picked by President Bush to restore the nation's confidence in unfettered electricity markets, does not fit the stereotype of a Republican appointee. In his former life as Texas utilities commission chairman, Wood's most celebrated showdowns were with big business. He wielded the power of government like a 9-pound hammer when the state's electric utilities resisted deregulation.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 17, 2001 | GEORGE SKELTON
"We're going to get it done," Gov. Gray Davis pledges. "We will find a way. One way or the other, we'll get it done." It is a bill to rescue Southern Cal Edison from looming bankruptcy. Such a measure died in the state Senate early Saturday just before the 2001 legislative session ended. Crusty Senate leader John Burton (D-San Francisco) wouldn't even allow a floor vote. "We didn't want to embarrass the governor," he proclaimed, contending the bill had only seven supporters.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 16, 2001 | JERRY HIRSCH and NANCY RIVERA BROOKS, TIMES STAFF WRITERS
Now that the state Legislature has failed to pass a bill to rescue Southern California Edison, the state's second-largest electricity utility lingers in a dangerous limbo between nervous creditors and a rebellious state Senate that is refusing to back the governor's plan to repair Edison's finances. Gov. Gray Davis late Friday told lawmakers to return in two weeks for a special session devoted only to solving Edison's financial troubles and getting the state out of the power-buying business.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 10, 2001 | TIM REITERMAN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
After a summer of delays, California regulators and legislators are aiming in one final week to resolve issues crucial to millions of electricity customers and the financial stability of the state and its utilities. The energy crisis that caused blackouts early this year has receded, but it has left behind a potential fiscal crisis. The state needs to recoup more than $8 billion that it has spent on power, and it has signed $43 billion in long-term electricity contracts.
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