Calif. Reaffirms Direct Access, But Pushes Public Purpose Programs

Fortnightly Magazine - April 15 1997
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Recharge the Economy with Renewable Energy Tax Credits

In a pair of orders issued the same day, the California Public Utilities Commission has denied requests to modify its plan for electric industry restructuring, as set out in its Final Policy Decision of Dec. 20, 1995 (see 166 PUR4th 1), but has initiated new "public service programs" to continue support for energy efficiency and low-income assistance efforts.

So, on the one hand, the commission has reaffirmed its plan to grant direct access rights to electric consumers to choose power from a supplier of choice, but on the other, it has moved ahead to carry out provisions of the state's electric restructuring law (Assembly Bill 1890) that mandated continued support for "public interest" programs, appearing even to go beyond the requirements of the law by creating a new independent regulatory board to administer the benefit programs.

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