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CA Group Blasts Competition's Progress

CA Group Blasts Competition's Progress

One year into electric deregulation, the benefits promised consumers by the California legislature have failed to materialize, making monopoly utilities the primary winners in the state's deregulation game, according to San Francisco-based TURN, The Utility Reform Network.

Small consumers scored zero on savings, despite the "legislated 10% rate reduction" appearing on their bills, the consumer advocacy group said. The rate reduction, financed by consumers through a TTA charge, is actually about 2%, far less than consumers would have seen had generation regulation remained, TURN said. "And consumers must pay inflated rates for 10 years to pay off the bonds sold to pay for the minuscule reduction."

TURN maintains fewer than 1% of California's residential customers have switched electric companies, despite the $80 million the CPUC awarded to utilities to explain deregulation and millions more spent by would-be competitors on sales and marketing. The utilities have collected billions in accelerated recovery on unprofitable investments.

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