Governor Gray Davis - Digital Library
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Protecting Californians: Energy

Governor Davis managed the energy crisis despite an inherited flawed deregulation scheme, federal regulators who refused to do their job, and energy companies that put California at risk for their own profit.

He worked quickly and aggressively to protect consumers and businesses by approving new power plants and promoting conservation and alternative energy.

The bottom line is Governor Davis kept the lights on when unruly energy companies were threatening to turn them off.

He avoided outages in the summer of 2001 when national energy experts predicted 32 days of blackouts. In the summer of 2003, California experienced its highest demand ever without any type of power alert. Southern California Edison had the largest load ever on its system - and no one blinked an eye.

The Governor also continues to make headway in his fight on behalf of California ratepayers. Electric rates have been reduced and billions of dollars saved through contract renegotiations.


The Governor brought more megawatts online, ASAP. He recognized that the quickest route to energy independence is an abundant supply of power.


  • Accelerated licensing of new power plants; reduced red tape and paved the way for new major power plants and "peaker" plants.
  • Established a Public Power Authority to supplement the private market.
  • Established the nation's largest Renewable Portfolio Standard.


  • Since 1999, 38 power plants have been licensed, totaling 14,365 MW.
  • More new power was brought online during 2001 than in the previous 12 years combined - enough to power two million homes.
  • From January 2001 to August 2003, 8,086 MW of new generation have been brought online, including 6,200 from major plants of 300 MW or more.


While the Governor increased energy supply, he also reduced energy demand through landmark conservation and energy-efficiency programs. He established an $850-million conservation program - the largest of its kind in the nation.

Conservation Results:

  • Peak load reduction program delivered 1,411 MW of savings.
  • New Davis Administration's Building Standards saved 200 MW in its first year.
  • California Conservation Corps distributed 1.8 million compact fluorescent bulbs.
  • "Flex Your Power" program saved 1,468 MW in 2002, and is expected to provide the same amount of savings for 2003.


In late 2000 and 2001, with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) not doing its job and energy companies withholding power, California was forced to purchase power to keep power flowing to homes, businesses, and farms.

Although FERC ruled that California has no right to restructure the energy contracts entered at the height of the energy crisis, the state has fought for renegotiated energy deals that will improve terms and save money for ratepayers.

The Davis Administration has since renegotiated the terms of 33 long-term contracts with 18 companies, saving ratepayers more than $6.3 billion dollars. And best of all, the Administration has reduced electric rates. Southern California Edison began lowering rates by $1.25 billion this August.

Forcing Federal Action

For too long, federal regulators looked the other way as out-of-control wholesale power prices and market manipulation by out-of-state generators threatened our economy.

New evidence has emerged documenting how Enron and other energy companies gamed the market. Based on that evidence, the Electricity Oversight Board and the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) - at the Davis Administration's request - have petitioned FERC to revise or simply set aside the long-term contracts.

Governor Davis will continue fighting, in every venue, be it FERC or the courts, to provide Californians with refunds for the unjust rates we were charged.

Planning for the Future

The Davis Administration has developed an Energy Action Plan to meet California's energy growth needs while optimizing energy conservation and resource efficiency and reducing demand. It will:

  • Ensure a reliable, affordable, and high quality power supply for all regions of the state by building sufficient new generation.
  • Accelerate the state's goal for renewable resource generation to 2010.
  • Upgrade and expand the electricity transmission and distribution infrastructure and reduce the time to bring needed facilities on-line.

The Governor is continuing to work with the energy agencies to upgrade and protect California's power grid.

  • The Cal-ISO's generator and transmission equipment maintenance standards and outage reporting requirements are currently in place to prevent system shutdowns.
  • Efforts are ongoing to identify needed transmission upgrades and build essential lines.
  • At the Governor's urging, the PUC gave the regulatory approvals for the upgrade of Path 15. After being on the drawing boards for more than 15 years, the upgrade of Path 15 is now anticipated to come into service late 2004.