California Utilities Sue to Halt Deregulation Challenge
A coalition of California`s investor-owned utilities and business groups filed a lawsuit to stop a ballot initiative aimed at overturning parts of the state`s 1996 electricity deregulation law. The coalition said in a statement the costly voter initiative violates the state constitution because it interferes with a bond issue and attempts to override provisions that control public utilities. Under the state plan, Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and Enova Corp. were allowed to issue special 10-year notes to pay down their stranded costs. So far, the utilities have issued more than $7 billion of the new debt. A coalition of consumer groups, led by Consumers Union and The Utility Reform Network, announced that more than 700,000 signatures had been gathered, which would ensure a spot for the initiative on the November ballot.