California regulators have issued emergency authorization forincreased borrowing — up to $2 billion — for SouthernCalifornia Edison to help it pay the bills for this summer’s powerprice spikes.

The utility needs the money to pay power suppliers’ bills sinceits frozen retail rates resulted in huge undercollections fromcustomers.

In a closed session of the special California Public UtilitiesCommission (CPUC) meeting, regulators also considered San Diego Gasand Electric’s request that state regulators ask FERC to set capson the prices generators and traders can ask for when they bid intoCalifornia’s power market.

For Edison, the greater borrowing was granted unanimously, butonly for the limited use of paying for the purchase of wholesalepower that in turn is sold to the utility’s retail customers.

In July, Edison originally requested an increase in itsborrowing authority to a lower level of $1.2 billion, asking thatit be effective to Aug. 1. Then last week the utility asked foremergency action to take the amount to the higher level, which isclose to the $1.97 billion under-collection recorded as of Aug. 31.

Under California regulatory laws, the CPUC is permitted to givequick-turnaround action when the situation involves an “unforeseenemergency.”

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