Governorís Energy Policy Subject of Hearing Monday

By Loretta Macktal, Executive Assistant to the Vice President, Government Relations

Capitol Update, May 7, 2004 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

On Monday, May 10th, the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee will conduct an informational hearing on Governor Schwarzenegger’s energy plan and the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) implementation of current law on utility procurement of new power supplies.

The hearing will be the first time a Schwarzenegger administration official will appear before a legislative committee to lay out the Governor’s policies on energy. As of this writing, it has not been announced who will represent the administration at the hearing but it is likely to be Joe Desmond, the recently appointed Deputy Secretary of Energy at the Resources Agency who is the Governor's point person on energy issues.

CPUC President Michael R. Peevey will also participate at the hearing, and answer questions relating to the CPUC’s implementation of AB 57 (Roderick Wright, D-So. Ctrl LA), legislation signed into law in 2002, that requires utilities to submit a procurement plan that utilizes a competitive procurement process.

On April 28th, Governor Schwarzenegger sent a letter to CPUC President Michael Peevey urging him and the CPUC to "expeditiously implement" AB 57 and noting that "investment in California's [power] infrastructure has been stymied by regulatory uncertainty." The letter also outlined the Governor’s energy priorities, including his support for direct access for large users.

The Governor reiterated his positions in a May 4th speech when he said "we will take charge of our energy future" and that the "first step is to implement AB 57 to ensure reliable power, lower rates, and more options for business and consumers."

The hearing will be on May 10th at 1:30 p.m. in Room 437 of the State Capitol.

Meanwhile, another key energy official raised concerns recently about California’s energy supply outlook. On May 5th, the Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Pat Wood, warned of the possibility that California could face energy shortages this summer. "There are some very troublesome conditions out there," said Wood. "We’re clearly monitoring that."

The FERC Chairman’s comments come less than two weeks after the California Independent System Operator issued a summer assessment which concludes that robust economic growth and low hydro conditions could cause electricity shortages this summer.

Wood has been invited to be the keynote speaker at the upcoming CMTA Energy Conference on July 28-30 in South Lake Tahoe. The conference will host administration officials, legislators, regulators and industry leaders to hit these issues head-on. A roundtable format will feature conversations between market participants and regulators, probing the politics and economic impacts of rates for large customers, proposed retail market options, competitive wholesale markets and transmission infrastructure.

For more information and to register for the conference, go to http://www.cmta.net/archive/2004_energy_conf/index.php.
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