Nascent Legislation Aims to Shed Light on Procurement Data

By Published On: January 31, 2004

Following a drumbeat of protest, legislation is in the works in Sacramento that would give the public more scrutiny of utility energy procurement information that has until now been kept quiet. A host of market participants and others maintain that an emphasis on secret data has stifled a competitive procurement process. The public is ?better served when these public decisions are made in public,? according to a source. The Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee is formulating legislation to address the matter. To get Calpine?s support, procurement legislation would need to strengthen competitive elements of the process, said Joe Ronan, Calpine senior vice president of government and regulatory affairs. Consumers and ratepayers ?are entitled to a fair, open, and transparent procurement process,? he said. Acknowledging pressure from Sacramento, the California Public Utilities Commission agreed last week to require more public access to procurement data. The move was a little-heralded provision of the commission?s procurement decision approved on January 22. As part of new procurement proceedings, the CPUC said decisions for utility projects and power-purchase agreements will be based ?solely? on public information provided by utilities and other suppliers. All price and availability information in investor-owned utilities? procurement plans needs to be turned over?with exceptions for certain market-sensitive information.

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