California Oks Direct Access all at Once

Fortnightly Magazine - July 1 1997
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The California Public Utilities Commission has ruled that it will not phase in direct access at different times for different customer groups, but will allow all customers, regardless of classification or amount of electricity used, to choose their energy supplier in less than two years.

"There will be no phase-in or pilot-program period for the opening of California's electricity market. In just eight months we go from a regulated monopoly to open competition in one big bang," said John Seidl, president and CEO of CellNet Data Systems Inc.

The PUC said that starting Jan. 1, 1998, all competitors can offer electric service to customers of Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric, Kirkwood Gas & Electric, PacifiCorp, Sierra Pacific Power Co., and Southern California Water Co. Customers will have two direct-access options. They may purchase power from competing nonutility retail electric service providers such as brokers, marketers, aggregators, or other retailers, or through direct contracts with electric generators (Docket R.94-04-031/I.94-04-032).

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