Here is my general approach to the energy companies. You have already charged the utilities a 50 percent credit penalty for the power they were buying from you. You're charging us a penalty. You're not going to get two bites of the apple here.
Now, in the space of a year, we've spent 450 percent more for power than we did the year before, and bought essentially the same amount of power. This year, that number's likely to go up. That can't go on forever and have us continue to be the economic engine for America.
So it was flawed in that it didn't require California to have a first claim on the power plants. It deregulated part of the market, but not all of the market.
We started focusing on this in earnest late summer and early fall. I can build more power plants. In the 12 years before us, not a single plant of major consequence was built.
We'll have a public power authority, which will also have the ability to build power or finance power. And more importantly, we'll have more power than our economy provides. All of that will give us leverage we don't have today.
Well, there's no question that the law passed in 1996 was flawed. It deregulated the wholesale market, meaning the price that the utilities had to pay energy companies for power, but not the retail market.
Well, we're trying to patch and fix and put a cast on a broken system here. You can call it what you want, but we'll continue to purchase power in a private market.
Why? Because we're very well down this process as it is - flawed as it is - and we're counting on getting more power plants on line by the end of 2003 so we have a surplus of power.