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Retail Energy Supporters Urge PUC to Maintain Direct Access as Cost-Saving Tool for Businesses, Homes, State.

Business Organizations, Energy Service Providers, Direct Access Customers Say Electricity Choice Should Be Preserved Through Legislative, Regulatory Actions

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 20 /PRNewswire/ --

WHAT: Press Conference -- In advance of the expected PUC decision to suspend direct access at its August 23 meeting, the Alliance for Retail Energy Markets (AReM) and the Direct Access Coalition (DAC), will host a news conference to outline legislative and regulatory options available to the state that would not interfere with issuance of energy revenue bonds, while retaining California energy consumers' access to the retail energy market. AReM, DAC and direct access customers discuss why electricity choice must be preserved as an energy cost-controlling tool. Direct access supporters will also argue that maintaining retail choice will save the state money by limiting DWR's spot market purchases.

WHO:

Industry and Consumer Groups:

AES NewEnergy California Manufacturers School Project For

Alliance for Retail & Technology Association Utility Rate

Energy Markets California Retailers Reduction

American Utility Association Strategic Energy

Network California Utility

California Chamber Buyers JPA

of Commerce electricAmerica

California Grocers Green Mountain

Association Energy Company

Direct Access Customers:

Shawn Covell, Qualcomm, San Diego

Daniel Corrales, Standard Metal Products, Gardena

Scott Schmidt, Valley Industry & Commerce Association, San Fernando

Valley

Melinda Stone, residential customer, San Clemente

WHEN: Tuesday, August 21, 2001

11:00 a.m. - Q&A session immediately following

Also available via teleconference: 612-332-1213

[call is interactive during Q&A]

Conference ID: Alliance for Retail Energy Markets

Conference leader: Tracy Fairchild

WHERE: Hyatt Regency, Ventura Room, 1209 L Street, Sacramento

CONTACT: For more information, please contact Tracy Fairchild or

Erica Manuel at 916-442-2331, tracy.fairchild@edelman.com, or

erica.manuel@edelman.com

Retail Energy Providers Suggest Alternatives to CPUC Suspension of Direct

Access

CPUC Decision Scheduled for August 23

The Alliance for Retail Energy Markets (AReM) filed a plan for preserving customer choice at the CPUC on August 14, 2001. The plan provides a rational alternative to the CPUC's pending decision to suspend customer choice effective September 1, 2001. The following is a summary of the AReM filing:

CPUC Has the Legal Authority to Implement the Program

-- Current statute requires the CPUC to "authorize" and "facilitate"

customer choice (Section 365(b)(1) and 366 (a) of the California Public

Utilities Code.

-- The CPUC's pending decision only references the Water Code statute

added in ABX1 1 (Section 80110). This statute gives the CPUC complete

discretion as to when it decides to suspend customer choice.

-- The CPUC can easily reconcile these conflicting statutes by adopting

AReM's program.

AReM's Program Addresses Payback of State Funds

-- The CPUC would implement the program for an initial period of

12 months.

-- Utility customers choosing direct access during the program would pay a

share of the costs incurred by the General Fund and the utilities'

procurement-related debts.

-- An expedited proceeding would determine whether any costs related to

DWR long-term contracts should be recovered:

-- The CPUC would consider allowing direct access equivalent to the

State's net short position without any associated DWR cost burden or

exit fees for any direct access that exceeds the net short position.

-- The CPUC would consider set-asides to ensure that program benefits

are extended to residential and small commercial customers and green

incentives.

-- For direct access service begun before the new program:

-- Direct access customers who have been on direct access continuously

since May 2000 would pay no utility procurement or DWR-related

costs.

-- Direct access customers who were utility customers for a portion of

the time between January 17, 2001 and the date the new program is

implemented would pay a proportional share of DWR and past utility

procurement costs to the extent other customers are required to pay

for those costs.

-- Absent legislation addressing direct access during the next 12 months:

-- CPUC would revisit the program after 12 months to review its impact

and could continue, modify or suspend the program.

-- Direct access contracts in existence at the time of a CPUC program

review would be grandfathered and not be subject to suspension or

other changes.

NOTE: Alliance for Retail Energy Markets (AReM) is a coalition whose member companies include AES NewEnergy, American Utility Network, electricAMERICA., GreenMountain Energy Company, The New Power Company, and Strategic Energy, L.L.C.

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Date:Aug 21, 2001
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