The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has approved loan guarantees of up to $250 million to fund development of computer hardware and software to help the electric industry establish the independent system operator (ISO) and the Power Exchange (PX), both key components of the CPUC's proposed restructuring plan.
Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and Southern California Edison Co. each had asked for $112.5 million in loan guarantees; San Diego Gas & Electric Co. had asked for $25 million. The CPUC pointed to the risks in developing the hardware and software, however, explaining that legislative and regulatory developments may cause the ISO or PX to fail to develop or evolve in a way that might exclude some development costs from federal rates. In such a case, the CPUC added, the utilities have the option to seek recovery from California ratepayers.
A separate trust will be created to oversee development of the ISO and PX computer systems, and their governing boards will differ slightly.
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