Energy Message from Maria Contreras-Sweet
With summer’s peak energy usage months soon upon us, Governor Davis has proposed a clear, effective, and affordable three-pronged answer to the energy challenge.
- Stabilization. Governor Gray Davis is meeting the challenge of rate stabilization by working to reduce the wholesale cost of electricity and maintain the solvency of the investor-owned utilities. Recently, Governor Davis announced an agreement in principle with Southern California Edison on a plan to ensure reliable and affordable electricity and keep the utility solvent and viable. The Davis administration is continuing negotiations with Pacific Gas & Electric and San Diego Gas & Electric to forge similar agreements.
- Conservation. In his State of the State Address, Governor Davis issued a new call for energy efficiency and backed it up with a record commitment of funding. In February, the Governor unveiled what is believed to be the most sweeping conservation campaign ever undertaken by a state. $404 million in new conservation initiatives will augment the $424 million in existing programs already funded by the Administration. The new initiatives alone are expected to reduce California’s peak load demand by more than 3,200 MW this summer. The state is leading by example. Every single day, state government is cutting its consumption by at least 8 percent. During Stage Two alerts, it’s saving 20 percent. In early March, Governor Davis announced that Californians had risen to the task: business and consumers slashed energy use during the month of February by eight percent.
Governor Davis also used his emergency powers to set up the 20/20 Rebate Program, which rewards those who reduce energy consumption during summer months by 20 percent with a 20 percent reduction in their rates.
- Generation. A reliable supply of electricity is the lifeblood of California’s prosperity. Unfortunately, deregulation has left a dangerous imbalance between energy supply and demand.
For the twelve years before Governor Davis took office, the state failed to build a single major power plant. Under the Davis Administration, those days are over. Since April 1999, nine new major power plants (eight of which will produce 500 MW or more) have been licensed. Six are under construction. In addition, 15 are being considered for licensing.
Under Governor Davis’ emergency powers and proposals, California will streamline efforts to bring an additional 20,000 MW online by summer 2004. By July 2001, California should have another 5,000 MW in new power generation on line. By summer 2002, that number should increase to 10,000 MW. Governor Davis will ensure that all generation measures maintain California’s commitment to clean air and the environment. He has appointed a Clean Energy Green team to oversee the permitting and construction process. He is also committed to upgrading the transmission system to improve its efficiency and improving fuel delivery.
We Californians have always climbed from adversity and made ourselves a safer and better world in which to live. Working together we shall rise above this energy challenge.
Maria Contreras-Sweet is the Secretary of the Business, Transportation & Housing Agency