Gino DiCaro

Senate Committee Votes Against Competitive Energy Markets: SB 888 Passes 5-3

By Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications

Capitol Update, May 7, 2003 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

On May 6, 2003, the Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee heard SB 888 (D-Dunn), which would “re-regulate” California’s energy market and repeal direct access.

Direct access allows customers to manage their own energy requirements and contract for energy supplies that meet their needs for price, reliability and level of risk. By repealing direct access, SB 888 eliminates a tool for large users to manage their own energy needs and reduce costs. Without any competition, consumers will always pay more and receive less, than if they are able to choose between providers vying for their business.

While the manufacturing sector has seen roughly 278,000 lost jobs since January 2001, repealing direct access “will only increase these jobs losses and cause more businesses to shut down facilities or leave the state. Clearly, energy is a critical component of the manufacturing process.

Last year the Legislature enacted several bills to bring back some stability in California’s energy market, including AB 57 (Wright), which establishes a framework for utilities to resume their electricity procurement responsibilities. We are now just beginning to put the pieces back together; re-regulating the market would reverse any progress made in the last year and destabilize California’s energy market.

Despite testimony from several opponents of SB 888, the committee decided on a 5-3 vote to pass it out to Senate Appropriations, amongst very shaky support. Nonetheless, CMTA will continue to make the bill a priority to defeat it as it moves on.

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