Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Pelosi and House Democrats Call for Investigation into California Energy Crisis

October 2, 2002

Washington, D.C. -- House Democrats held a press conference today to discuss the repeated announcements of energy market manipulation and lack of response by the House Republican Leadership, and to call for a thorough investigation of the California energy crisis. The following is a statement by Democratic Whip Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

“I stand with my colleagues today to call - yet again - for a thorough investigation and analysis of the energy crisis in California.

“We must know what went wrong and how to fix it before plunging ahead with restructuring the electric utility industry. We must we look before we leap.

“The consequences of doing otherwise are clear and they are painful. In California, we took a leap of faith in deregulating the electricity industry. When we fell, there was no safety net. For month after month, as electricity prices shot sky-high, federal regulators failed to stop the rampant abuse of consumers. And month after month, the Republican majority refused to hold hearings, either in the House Energy and Commerce Committee or the Government Reform Committee.

“Time and time again, my Western colleagues and I have stood together to sound the alarm. We said, ‘Market-based electricity rates aren’t working.’ We said, ‘Let’s go back to cost-of-service rates until we know how to make the electricity markets work in the Western region.’

“Finally this summer, many long months after the worst of the western electricity crisis, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a report saying, in essence, ‘Well, what do you know, Enron and its friends probably did cheat, lie, and steal in California.’

“Yet FERC and some members of Congress still want to rush ahead with massive changes in the energy industry. We in the West know from experience that haste, in this case, will make waste. Let’s learn from our mistakes and let’s make sure FERC cannot unleash future Enrons on any state in the nation.”


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