January 19, 2001
ROSEMEAD, Calif., Jan. 19, 2001-The Chairman and CEO of Edison International, John Bryson, today described the decision of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) forbidding Southern California Edison (SCE) from withdrawing from its obligation to serve "an insult to the ethic of the 13,000 employees of SCE who have worked to keep the lights on for their customers. In fact, SCE has borrowed billions of dollars, which threatens the company's solvency, through 8½ months of inaction and delay by the CPUC, in order to continue to serve its customers."
Edison has no intention of unilaterally withdrawing from its obligation, a point that was made clearly and unambiguously to the President of the CPUC, Loretta Lynch, by Bryson in a phone conversation yesterday that was initiated by Lynch. Subsequently, this was reiterated in another call from Bryson to Lynch prior to this morning's meeting.
The use of a TRO by the CPUC under these circumstances is an abuse of their powers. A TRO should only be used in the rare circumstance that the parties involved have not been able to resolve a pending action that would cause imminent harm. In this case, there was no reason for the CPUC to take this action, except for reasons of publicity. This decision undermines confidence in the fairness of the decision-making process at the CPUC.
SCE has repeatedly affirmed its commitment to provide continuing service to its customers and has also repeatedly urged the CPUC to recognize its corollary obligation to allow SCE to recover the costs of providing that service.
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An Edison International company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation's largest electric utilities, serving a population of more than 11 million via 4.3 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within central, coastal and Southern California. For more information on the California electricity crisis, see "sce.com" or "concernedshareholders.org".