Action Delayed on Electricity Deregulation : Energy: PUC gives no reason for postponement of long-awaited decision.


The California Public Utilities Commission on Wednesday postponed until at least Dec. 20 its long-awaited decision on the deregulation of the state's $20-billion electric utility industry.

In a brief public meeting in San Francisco, the commission gave no reason for the postponement. But it alluded to pressing end-of-the year business that fills its current agenda and said it will hold another meeting Dec. 18. The process of restructuring the industry has been the topic of debate among regulators, utilities, ratepayers and environmentalists for the last year and a half, and the commission's decision has been awaited by observers around the country as a possible model for other states.

One bit of business did get through the commission Wednesday: San Diego Gas & Electric Co. won approval to reorganize under a new holding company. The utility said the new company will be named Enova Corp., short for "energy innovation."

SDG&E;'s new structure sets the stage for the utility's generating business to be separated from its other businesses, in anticipation of the proposed deregulation of the electricity industry.

The utility also announced management changes to correspond with the restructuring: Thomas A. Page, chairman of SDG&E;, will assume the new title of chairman of Enova; Executive Vice President Donald Felsinger will take over the titles of president and chief executive of SDG&E; from Page.

Executive Vice President Stephen Baum will become president and chief executive of Enova.

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