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                President Clinton: Taking Action To Help
                California With High Electricity Prices
                            August 23, 2000

President Clinton today directed Federal agencies to provide assistance to low income households and small businesses in Southern California. The wholesale price of electricity has risen steeply in parts of the country this summer, hitting California's low-income households and small businesses particularly hard. California's hot weather, its limited generation and transmission capacity, and growing demand have combined to significantly increase the price of electricity. Higher prices have been passed on to retail consumers, including low-income households and small businesses, in certain parts of California where the retail price of electricity is unregulated because of requirements established by the state's electricity restructuring legislation. Earlier this week, the California Public Utilities Commission took steps to ease the burden on these consumers by adopting a plan to stabilize their electricity bills.


PRESIDENT CLINTON ONCE AGAIN CALLED ON CONGRESS TO PASS COMPREHENSIVE ELECTRICITY RESTRUCTURING LEGISLATION: The President urged Congress to work with the Department of Energy and other Federal agencies to enact comprehensive electricity restructuring legislation, which can promote greater investment in generation and transmission facilities and enhance regional planning, reliability and the efficiency of the interstate transmission grid, each of which is needed to ensure the availability of affordable and environmentally responsible electricity to power America into the 21st century.

TODAY'S ACTION BUILDS ON EFFORTS ANNOUNCED BY THE PRESIDENT EARLIER THIS MONTH TO HELP CALIFORNIA MEET ITS ELECTRICITY NEEDS THIS SUMMER. Earlier this month, in order to help reduce the risk of power outages as a result of electricity shortages in California, the President directed that managers of all Federal buildings in California take steps to reduce consumption of power to the maximum extent practicable consistent with the health and welfare of employees, and that Federal agencies coordinate with other state and local government agencies to minimize the use of electricity in all government buildings in California. President Clinton also directed earlier this month that all federal agencies take steps to help California maximize available electricity. The Federal government is one of the largest electricity consumers in California representing approximately 2% of all electricity use.

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