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Industry News

CPUC Orders PG&E to Transmit State Electricity

LCG, May 17, 2002-Yesterday the California Public Utilities Commission directed PG&E to move state-bought electricity in order that plans be carried out for the sale of $11.1 billion in bonds.

PG&E will transmit the energy, bill its customers, and give the money to the state, as ordered by the Commission. The Department of Water Resources bought electricity for the bankrupt utility starting January 2001. The order is an attempt to reimburse the DWR, which also bought power for other California utilities when their credit ratings fell due to an inability to match high wholesale prices and retail price limitations.

The service agreement was apparently the only thing standing in the way of the sale of the bonds. The revenue from the bond sale will be used to repay a $4.3 billion loan used to buy electricity last year in addition to sending $6 billion to the state general fund. Bonds will reportedly be up for sale in 12 to 15 weeks.

PG&E, which filed for bankruptcy in April of last year, has 10 days to submit an appeal to the Commission and can appeal again to the California Supreme Court if Commission hearings are not favorable. PG&E reportedly disputes the order because it does not take into account changes the utility wanted.

Similar orders were placed for Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric, utilities serving Southern California.

PG&E serves 13 million customers in Northern California and is currently awaiting a court decision on what will be done to bring it out of bankruptcy. Both the Commission and PG&E have submitted plans to the court, and Judge Dennis Montali has ruled that PG&E creditors will vote on the two plans before any decision is reached.

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