I don't know why they're doing it. I have to assume that their motives are positive, not negative. But they don't understand the severity of the problem in this state.
I'm doing my part, building plants at a record rate, having historic conservation levels. The only people not doing their part is the federal government that is siding with the energy companies against the interests of the people of California.
We started focusing on this in earnest late summer and early fall. I can build more power plants. In the 12 years before us, not a single plant of major consequence was built.
Well, there's no question that the law passed in 1996 was flawed. It deregulated the wholesale market, meaning the price that the utilities had to pay energy companies for power, but not the retail market.
I know that Duke made a number of demands, including that the attorney general drop its investigation. We have no intention of asking the attorney general to do that.
Now, in the space of a year, we've spent 450 percent more for power than we did the year before, and bought essentially the same amount of power. This year, that number's likely to go up. That can't go on forever and have us continue to be the economic engine for America.
There are so many scenarios here. We tried to prepare for the worst summer in 40 years and build assumptions based on that. We're preparing for the worst, but we're hoping for the best. And I've told people the end is in sight.
Here is my general approach to the energy companies. You have already charged the utilities a 50 percent credit penalty for the power they were buying from you. You're charging us a penalty. You're not going to get two bites of the apple here.
Meanwhile, people have to join us and fight back against the federal government that has dropped the ball, that is in bed with these energy companies, that wants them to make more money than they've made before.
So it was flawed in that it didn't require California to have a first claim on the power plants. It deregulated part of the market, but not all of the market.
Why? Because we're very well down this process as it is - flawed as it is - and we're counting on getting more power plants on line by the end of 2003 so we have a surplus of power.
There's no question that California, in the last three or four years, has been privileged to add disproportionately to the economic growth of America, and to contribute to its technological productivity.
Duke came to us. They volunteered to come to us and made a number of suggestions to some people on my staff. I don't know how I would characterize them, but there have been some discussions going back and forth between Duke and members of my staff.
We'll have a public power authority, which will also have the ability to build power or finance power. And more importantly, we'll have more power than our economy provides. All of that will give us leverage we don't have today.
We believe you will not have to pay more than the current rate structure proposes - which is, for 50 percent of the public, nothing; for another 25 percent, only a 10 percent increase; and for the remaining 25 percent, a 34 percent increase.
Well, we're trying to patch and fix and put a cast on a broken system here. You can call it what you want, but we'll continue to purchase power in a private market.