The California legislature had taken an interest in electric restructuring from early on in the debate. Through policy committees of the Assembly and Senate, it had signaled that the CPUC would need the blessing of the lawmakers before it would be allowed to pursue the ideas spelled out in the commission's Final Policy Decision. Moreover, the December 1995 decision had drawn a divided reaction. Some parties had sought relief from the outcome of the December 1995 order. Others had simply grown impatient with the CPUC's slow, deliberative process.
Yellow to Blue to MOU
That process first emerged in 1992 with the CPUC's "Yellow Book" policy statement and had begun to take shape in California in April 1994, with the release of the "Blue Book." Starting with the objective of reducing California electric rates, which ran 50 percent over the national average, the Blue Book's authors kept a watchful eye on experimentation in the United Kingdom, with its competitive power pool and individual transactions. By May 1995, a divided CPUC had settled on a "PoolCo" through which all transactions would have to flow, with full recovery of stranded costs and "virtual" direct access through contracts for differences.