CA - Governor Davis To Release Details Of Long-Term Contractsgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
Governor Davis To Release Details Of Long-Term Contracts (KFWB/AP) -- Gov. Gray Davis is planning to release the details of 38 long-term contracts between the state and power generators, aides said. The disclosures will take place this week.
"We now believe that the balance tips in favor of disclosure rather than continuing to withhold the contracts," said Davis senior adviser Nancy McFadden.
The Davis administration has refused to release the contracts, saying that revealing the details would put the state at a competitive disadvantage in other contract talks. Republican lawmakers and several news organizations, including The Associated Press, filed lawsuits in March saying Davis' refusal to release details of the state's electricity purchases violates the California Public Records Act.
The state has been purchasing power since January for customers of three cash-strapped utilities. Much of that has been on the expensive spot market, but increasingly, state officials have locked in contracts for long-term deals.
Until recent weeks when prices dropped, spot market purchases cost the state about $50 million a day.
Raymond Hart, Department of Water Resources deputy director, sent letters to power generators Monday saying the department will ask a judge Wednesday to throw out a confidentiality provision in the contracts.
While revealing the details still might pose some problems in negotiations, "those impacts are far more limited than they might have been had the contracts been released even two weeks ago," the letter states.
Senate leader John Burton, D-San Francisco, said lawmakers need to see the details of the contracts before they could approve the governor's plan to rescue Southern California Edison, or any alternate plan.
"Until we see those contracts, and know exactly what's in them, we can't make a determination," Burton said. "There was an argument that I think was valid that the governor made at beginning of the contracts. ... We're totally beyond that now."
Burton said Tuesday he'll introduce three energy-related measures in the Legislature -- including one that would repeal a 10 percent rate hike scheduled to take effect next year.
The 1996 electricity deregulation law included an automatic 10 percent rate reduction until March 2002. Burton's bill would remove that out from state law, but the Public Utilities Commission could still raise rates if commissioners felt it was needed.
Burton is also authoring a bill to provide backup battery power for traffic signals in some intersections to keep the lights on during blackouts.
Burton's third measure is a resolution that voices support for Davis to commandeer power plants under his emergency powers authority.
"The governor talks about it," Burton said. "We're going to show him that there is support in the Senate for seizing these power plants from these generators who have been ripping us off."
-- PHO (email@example.com), June 12, 2001