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White House Should Include Consumer Groups in

Jan. 8, 2000

White House Should Include Consumer Groups in
California Energy Talks

Groups Excluded From Tuesday?s White House Energy Summit

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Shutting out consumer groups from discussions about California?s energy crisis is a huge mistake, and the Clinton administration should reverse itself and include the groups in upcoming discussions, a Public Citizen representative said today.

Consumer representatives typically have been excluded from meetings about the crisis that have been held by the state of California, and now they are being shut out by the White House. On Tuesday, representatives of utility companies are scheduled to meet with the administration in a closed-door summit, where company executives will have exclusive access to federal and state decision-makers, according to The Washington Post. The administration has failed to invite anyone representing California’s consumers, the Post reported.

“It is shameful that the Clinton administration thinks California’s electricity deregulation failure can be solved without input from consumer groups,” said Wenonah Hauter, director of Public Citizen’s Critical Mass Energy & Environment Program. “California got into this mess by writing deregulation’s rules on terms dictated by the power companies. It is time for regulators to listen to consumers and pull the plug on deregulation.”

Hauter noted that a recent Los Angeles Times poll showed that 66 percent of Californians think deregulation was a mistake and favor re-regulation by a 2-to-1 margin.

“Just because Californians never asked for deregulation doesn’t mean regulators shouldn’t consult consumers on how to fix it,” Hauter said.