Off Peak

Fortnightly Magazine - September 1 2000
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Off Peak

September 1, 2000

Wakeup Call in San Diego?

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By Regina R. Johnson

In early August, San Diego Gas & Electric's customers—the first in the country to pay market rates—were receiving bills charged at a record 14.2 cents per kilowatt-hour, up from 3.3 cents in May. Gov. Gray Davis was appealing for help from federal regulators, citizens planned a public bill burning, and an independent survey reported that the average price of electricity in the United States was the second-highest among the 14 major Western economies polled—despite deregulation.

At state agencies in California and nationwide, one question was on everyone's mind: Had the state's two-and-a-half-year-old "deregulation experiment" proved a failure? Here's what some of the players were saying.

"San Diego is your Waterloo unless you find a solution for the price increases that are plaguing this region."
-Michael Shames, Utility Consumers' Action Network, in remarks to regulators, SDG&E, and others

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