A proposal to allow a Santa Rosa food processor discounted electricity rates came down to whether California Public Utilities Commission members declared they were on the side of jobs or on the side of a ?regularized? rate structure?and whether to succumb to the political pressure of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to keep a single business from moving to another state. A deadlocked commission put off voting on the special rates October 28. Amy?s Kitchen, maker of frozen organic pizzas and various other prepared foods, is threatening to leave the state for an area with less expensive utility rates. The governor asked the 700-employee company to postpone its decision in order to allow the commission a chance to offer rate relief. Commissioner Susan Kennedy noted, ?There?s no such thing as fair or regularized? rates in the aftermath of the energy crisis. It was clear that the majority of commissioners, however, were going to side against the special rate, primarily because they fear it would create piecemeal policy making and be discriminatory. Pacific Gas & Electric asked for the decision under a proposed expansion of its experimental ?economic development rates.? In the Amy?s Kitchen case, the utility proposed to broaden the rate?s applicability to its entire territory and expand eligibility to include existing customers considering relocation. On another matter, a majority of commissioners voted to keep the details of a Southern California Edison settlement secret, in spite of ongoing efforts to open up the CPUC decision-making process. The matter was pulled off the commission?s consent agenda, but commissioner Carl Wood?s attempt to shine light on its details was overruled on a 3-2 vote. ?Utilities always want the terms to be confidential,? and administrative law judges always agree, Wood fretted. He said that if utility deals are good ones, then it behooves the public and the commission to publish them for future guidance. Utilities, however, fear that making their deals with private generators public will undermine their ability to strike future deals that benefit ratepayers. The case in point involves Edison and wind turbine owner SGF. Litigation of the QF?s power-purchase agreement was followed by two years of negotiations, which produced the settlement. Edison alleged that SGF did not supply its committed capacity, while SGF maintained that Edison erroneously conducted a capacity demonstration test. In another vote, the commission allowed PG&E to turn a 1999 revocable lease with telecommunications firm WilTel into an irrevocable one. This 3-2 vote focused on the utility knowingly violating the California Environmental Quality Act and a commission requirement for preapproval. PG&E leased WilTel 4,000 feet of trenches and 210 miles of overhead wires of its distribution system so WilTel could attach fiber optic cables along the paths. The fiber optic lines are for WilTel to serve customers. The vote allows the new lease without imposing fines on the utility for violating state and federal regulations because ?it may have not been clear? that they were needed, according to the decision. Meanwhile, the commission voiced hearty approval of the Federal Communications Commission decision to allow utilities to get into the Internet provider business. Commission president Mike Peevey said that offering a third alternative to cable and phone Internet service is a positive idea for utilities. PG&E has said it is open to providing such services; Edison maintains it is too early to consider it. Earlier fiber optic ventures by utilities went nowhere (<i>Circuit<\/i>, October 22, 2004).