Reregulation Initiative Kicked Off Ballot

By Published On: July 22, 2005

After the Third District Court of Appeal heard arguments July 20 on the challenge by the Independent Energy Producers and the California Retailers Association to the reregulation ballot initiative sponsored by The Utility Reform Network it removed the issue from the ballot July 22. No other details were availble at press time. (Check next week’s <i>Circuit</i> for an in-depth report). The secretary of state urged the court to make a quick decision because ballot information has to be made public beginning July 26. The voter’s pamphlet goes to press August 15. Generators and large consumers oppose the initiative, now given the number Proposition 80, for several reasons, including the potential prohibition on utilities’ ability to contract for power from third-party producers and the fact that a change in current California Public Utilities Commission authority over regulation requires a change in the state constitution—one that generally takes legislative intervention (<i>Circuit</i> July 1, 2005). TURN said that very contract prohibition would prevent “the Enron-style antics that brought the state to its knees in 2001-02.” Robin Johansen, who argued the case for TURN, cited a “long and unambiguous line of cases” interpreting the power of the people of California to enact initiatives broadly and holding that “the electorate’s lawmaking powers are identical to the Legislature’s.”

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