Gino DiCaro

Nunez Says Hes For Direct Access

By Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications

Capitol Update, Sept. 18, 2004 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

At a recent meeting of the Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles) said he supports direct access (DA) and customer choice.

"Why not let the big industrial users shop around for the best price?" said Nunez.

He was quick to add, however, that customer choice for large customers shouldn’t come "at the expense of small residential customers."

Nunez is the author of AB 2006, the controversial utility procurement and cost recovery legislation that was recently approved by the Legislature and is now on the governor’s desk. The bill is strongly opposed by CMTA.

Prior versions of AB 2006 contained provisions lifting the suspension of DA and providing for retail customer choice subject to significant limitations. The bill established overly restrictive rules for noncore service (for large energy users), including a one-time election to remain with the utility or to purchase electricity from a non-utility energy service provider. Current DA customers would have been adversely impacted by the bill's provisions requiring the "full recovery of existing direct access customers’ energy cost obligations on a schedule comparable to the recovery of comparable costs from core customers." This would have substantially increased the DA cost responsibility surcharge from the current capped rate of 2.7 cents per kilowatt-hour and would make DA uneconomic, thereby eliminating an essential cost-controlling tool for DA customers.

Last month, the DA-related provisions were stripped out of the bill.
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