SCE Terms CPUC Decision on Utility Cost-Cutting Irresponsible

March 15, 2001

March 15, 2001

Southern California Edison Company (SCE) today released the following statement in response to a California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) directive that the state's nearly bankrupt utilities cannot implement their announced cost-cutting measures.

ROSEMEAD, Calif., March 15, 2001-SCE expressed serious concern today that a CPUC order prohibiting the utility from implementing essential cost-cutting measures would serve only to exacerbate its current financial crisis.  The measures announced by SCE in December and January were designed to preserve our ability to provide electric service.

We believe it is irresponsible of the commissioners who voted in the majority to disallow needed cash preservation measures.  No one would seek these cost reductions except in a situation where they are necessary to preserve basic services.  In the current environment, a failure to act serves customers poorly. 

It has been many months since California's electricity market turned dysfunctional.  The commission has failed on repeated occasions to take the measures necessary to assure a reliable supply of electricity and a stable rate structure.  Instead, it has driven the state's investor-owned utilities to the edge of bankruptcy, and jeopardized the essential services they provide millions of Californians.  Meanwhile, the state continues to be mired in an energy crisis that continues unabated. 

Like any business or household, SCE must have the ability, as needed, to increase revenues or reduce costs to maintain its financial health.  The public utilities commission continues to deny us both options.  This kind of undue micro-management-preventing utilities from reasonable and temporary cost cutting-only perpetuates a remarkable episode of regulatory failure in California.

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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 www.sce.com.