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    LB Electric Bills To Drop As SCE Finishes Fully Recovering Its Money -- Paid by Consumers -- For Utility's Costs Incurred During 2000-01 "Energy Crisis"

    (July 10, 2003) -- LB electricity bills from Southern California Edison will be dropping because SCE expects by August 1 to fully recover its money -- paid by consumers -- for the utility's costs incurred by the "energy crisis" (of 2000-2001).

    As authorized by the CA Public Utilities Commission, SCE's rates will drop on August 1 by roughly 8% for residential users, roughly 18% for small businesses, 13% for medium business and 19% for large businesses (percentages are for "average users" within each class).

    In a company release, SCE noted that "[u]nder terms of a settlement SCE reached with the CPUC, the surcharges remained in effect after October 2001 to allow SCE to recover $3.6 billion in costs incurred to purchase power for its customers during California's energy crisis in 2000-2001." (An appeal of that settlement is under court review.)

    Meanwhile, the consumer group TURN (The Utility Reform Network) said in a written release that "this decrease will bring some relief to the customers who most need it, residential customers who have seen their rates skyrocket in order to bail out Edison not once but twice."

    TURN staff attorney Matt Freedman said, "This is only a $1.25 billion reduction after Edison collected $4 billion in overcharges that TURN has appealed to the State Supreme Court to refund. The settlement marks the end of the bailout but not the end of TURN's fight to force the utilities and generators to take some responsibility for their mistakes in deregulating and the resultant crisis."

    Rate reductions will vary among different types of SCE customers, reflecting the different levels of rate increase these customers experienced due to the surcharges imposed in 2001.

    The following chart indicates SCE's predicted average rate reductions for all customer classifications:


    Average Rate Before Aug. 1, 2003

    Rate Starting Aug. 1, 2003

    Residential* 14.6 cents 13.5 cents 8%
    Small Business 17.4 cents 14.3 cents 18%
    Medium-Use Business 15.3 cents 13.3 cents 13%
    Largest-Use Business 12.9 cents 10.5 cents 19%
    Agricultural 11.3 cents 9.6 cents 15%
    Street-Lighting 17.2 cents 14.5 cents 16%

    * Customers participating in California Alternate Rates for Energy (CARE) program will continue to receive rate protection and keep their 20% discount.

    [ comment: Don't spend your rate reduction all in one place.]

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