News Release


DATE: July 25, 2000

CONTACT STEVE SCHMIDT AT 619-531-4766 or 619-206-9108


Supervisors take action to attack skyrocketing energy rates

San Diego - With electricity rates quadrupling since May, today the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved Chairwoman Jacob's proposal declaring a State of Emergency for San Diego County consumers.

The Board also called for a retroactive rate freeze which would roll back rates to pre-deregulation levels, and agreed to hold a public conference to develop an action plan to reduce rates.

"Over the past few months the price of electricity for residents and business owners quadrupled from 3.2 cents per kilowatt-hour to 13.7 cents per kilowatt-hour. We must call for a "timeout" to give consumers immediate relief from these ridiculously high rates," said Jacob.

The freeze would roll back rates to approximately 2.9 cents per kilowatt-hour, giving San Diego residents the same stability as the rest of California consumers. Of the 58 counties, San Diego is the only county in the state where the rate freeze was lifted. Jacob's freeze would be in affect until a permanent solution is put into place.

Recognizing the urgency of this matter, and the effect it's had on seniors and others on fixed incomes, Jacob stated, ASeniors in our region should not have to cut back or eliminate basic needs such as keeping food cold, operating fans, turning on air conditioners to cope with summer heat, or plugging in oxygen devices and other life saving machines."

Small businesses also testified today about how the rapid increase is affecting the way they do business, stating that they have no choice but to pass on the added cost to consumers or reduce their operations, by laying off employees.

The Board also took the following action: called on the State legislature to hold special hearings to discuss electricity rates, directed the County's Sacramento legislative representative to make electricity rates their top priority, asked for federal assistance for customers and for a federal investigation into the rate hike, and asked the Independent Systems Operator to impose a more stringent price cap on wholesale rates.

The conference will be open to the public and will include energy providers, local elected officials and local and national energy experts. It will be held on August 17 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 1600 Pacific Highway.