News Release


DATE: August 1, 2001

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


Jacob says ratepayers owed full $8.9 billion for wholesale power overcharges

SAN DIEGO- The San Diego County Board of Supervisors is joining California Governor Gray Davis' efforts to recoup billions of dollars in overcharges from private wholesale power suppliers. At the request of Supervisor Dianne Jacob, the Board unanimously approved a resolution urging federal power regulators to order full wholesale refunds immediately.

"We need only to look at the obscene profits of wholesalers to know that suppliers have unscrupulously taken advantage of California's dysfunctional electricity market," Supervisor Jacob said. "By supporting the State, the County of San Diego continues to protect San Diego ratepayers from the fallout of California's electricity crisis."

The State of California reports that wholesale power generators have overcharged the state $8.9 billion for electricity from June 2000 to the present. The state has promised a legal battle should the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission refuse to issue refunds in their entirety. The Commission is considering the matter.

"In 2000, generators profited 200, 400 and in one case 900 percent above what they took in the previous year while San Diego-based Sempra Energy just reported a 25 percent jump in profits last quarter," Supervisor Jacob said. "The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission must fulfill its commitment to ratepayers and rectify grievous overcharges right away," Supervisor Jacob said.

Earlier this year, the Enron corporation moved to number seven on the Fortune 500 list of America's most profitable companies. Duke Energy moved to number 17 from 69 while Reliant jumped 59 places to number 55. Dynergy shot up to number 54 from 112.

The County is preparing a letter to inform FERC of its position on full refunds