Despite concerns that PacifiCorp?s parent corporation, ScottishPower, could get into financial trouble, the California Public Utilities Commission certified to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that state regulators can safeguard PacifiCorp?s ratepayers. Federal economic regulators requested the certification because the Public Utility Holding Company Act limits the amount of holding-company investments, and ScottishPower?s borrowing plan exceeds the SEC?s safe-harbor limits. ScottishPower would increase its investments in wholesale generators and foreign utility companies to $12.5 billion. ?That?s four times more than its consolidated earnings,? noted commissioner Loretta Lynch before casting the lone vote against the plan during a CPUC meeting August 19. ?I would feel more comfortable if the utility were ring-fenced.? Ring-fencing puts a barrier between the parent and its subsidiaries so one cannot raid the other?s bank accounts. CPUC president Mike Peevey dismissed concerns about overleveraging because some of that money could be used to develop wind power in California. ?I would hate to do anything in any way to impede it,? he said. Taking a lesson from Pacific Gas & Electric?which sent $5 billion to its parent company, PG&E Corp., just before declaring bankruptcy during the energy crisis?the commission prohibited PacifiCorp from making any distribution to ScottishPower that would reduce the utility?s common equity capital below 40 percent of PacifiCorp?s total capital. The commission also ruled that PacifiCorp cannot ask for a higher cost-of-capital return from regulators than it would without ScottishPower?s influence.