Southern California Edison to Seek Electricity Rate Decrease

Electricity rate relief is on the horizon for customers of Southern California Edison.

The Rosemead-based utility will file for a rate decrease this week with the California Public Utilities Commission to take effect after Edison has paid power debts left over from the energy crisis, which is expected about midyear, an Edison spokesman said Wednesday.

The size of the proposed rate cut still is being calculated, Edison spokesman Gil Alexander said, but he said the proposal "will touch all of our customers."

Edison, a subsidiary of Edison International, and PG&E; Corp.'s Pacific Gas & Electric Co. amassed huge electricity debts during the energy crisis of 2000-01 because high wholesale power costs could not be passed on to customers.

The PUC imposed record rate increases in 2001 to cover power costs, which plummeted a few months later. The PUC agreed to allow Edison to continue to charge the high rates and use the excess funds to repay old electricity debts.

Edison executives have said in recent months that those debts, which once totaled more than $3 billion, should be repaid by the middle of 2003.

-- Nancy Rivera Brooks

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