A bill that would authorize payment of Pacific Gas & Electric?s get-out-of-bankruptcy tab will be heard by the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee on February 2. SB 772 will be the vehicle used for PG&E?s dedicated rate component (DRC). The rate component is a financing mechanism for a $2.2 billion phantom regulatory asset that will be put toward ratepayer-backed bonds issued to get the utility out of deep debt. Senator Debra Bowen (D-Redondo Beach) agreed to have her bill amended to provide for the DRC despite her belief that the PG&E settlement is too expensive for the utility?s ratepayers. PG&E hopes to wrap up the matter quickly rather than having the legislature deliver a bill later in the year as is its custom, according to PG&E consultant Kent Kauss. Should SB 772 clear the Assembly energy session next week, it likely would next move to Assembly Appropriations, and on to the full Assembly for a vote. It would then return to the Senate for another policy hearing or simply a floor vote. The final stop would be the desk of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, which could see SB 772 as early as March.