News Release


DATE: January 23, 2001

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



Doubtful that state and federal regulators will take action to stabilize California's skyrocketing wholesale electricity costs, San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob and Chairman Bill Horn are investigating whether the region should set up its own power provider.

Acting on the recommendation of Horn and Jacob, the Board voted unanimously to develop state legislation which would make it possible for the region to create a Municipal Utility District (MUD).

An MUD, like those serving ratepayers in the cities of Los Angeles and Sacramento, would be able to buy, sell and generate electrical power to customers within San Diego County, according to Horn and Jacob. Both leaders believe that competition from a regional utility district may drive-down prices and offer the area a long-term solution to the County's worsening power woes.

"We are facing a regional economic breakdown and have been forced to investigate this dramatic option," said Jacob. "By moving toward the creation on an MUD, we tell the state and federal government that we will not be the guinea pigs in California's failed deregulation experiment," Jacob said.

"This action also pressures the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to exercise control over the power generators who are turning obscene profits at the expense of San Diego homes and businesses," Jacob added.

Jacob and Horn say the state must revamp its guidelines to set up a utility district then the County would be able to tell if such an entity would indeed, lower electric prices for San Diego ratepayers.

Jacob testified before the Federal Energy Regulator Commission in October decrying the profiteering of California's unregulated power-producing companies. Most recently, she lobbied the nation's top energy official to cap the price of wholesale power to the entire Western Region of the U.S.