WASHINGTON - Today Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) offered an amendment in the House Appropriations Committee to the FY 2001 Supplemental Appropriations bill to institute cost-of-service rates for electricity sold at wholesale in the Western region. This amendment would have provided immediate relief from the soaring wholesale electricity rates. The House Republicans blocked the amendment on a 27-34 vote in the Committee.
“With this vote, the House Republicans supported the energy suppliers who withheld power, drove up prices, and gouged consumers. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has reneged on its responsibility to ensure just and reasonable rates in California. For seniors or the disabled, who are living on a fixed income, paying these high energy prices is an emergency. For small businesses, facing steep increases in their costs, this is an emergency. And the Republicans want to do nothing.
“I am disappointed that House Republicans refused to act in a responsible manner to address the energy crisis. They have refused to acknowledge the connection between the energy crisis and the health of the economy. California and the Western region are facing an energy emergency including rolling blackouts and huge increases in electricity prices. With summer around the corner, the demand for electricity will continue go up all around the region, and California will not be alone,” Pelosi said.
The Pelosi Amendment to the FY 2001 Supplemental Appropriations bill would have:
- Required FERC to set limits on the price of electricity sold in the wholesale market in the Western region. Power suppliers would have received “cost-of-service” rates - they would have to be paid for the cost of supplying electricity, plus a reasonable profit;
- Maintained these cost-of-service rates for two years, not permanently;
- Exempted new generating facilities from cost-of-service rates, to promote investment in new facilities; and
Required FERC to order the refund of any charges that were not just and reasonable, from June 1, 2000 to the date of enactment.
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