March 13, 2001


Washington, DC - Congressional Progressive Caucus Vice Chair Barbara Lee (D-CA), joined her caucus colleagues today in support of cost-based wholesale pricing as part of a comprehensive national energy policy that protects consumers, promotes conservation, and provides consistent, reliable power.

The proposed legislation will insulate consumers from the ravages of unjust prices, but will not deny producers legitimate profits. It will establish cost-based rates set by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reflect the cost of generation plus a reasonable profit for generators.

"In California we are in the midst of a real energy crisis and consumers are paying the price. We have experienced blackouts
and skyrocketing prices that threaten both the public health and the state economy," said Lee. "While we may be the first state
to experience the full impact of this crisis, California will not be the last, because energy is not a state issue, but a regional and
national problem that we must address today. Energy is a vital necessity, and we cannot force senior citizens to choose
between paying their utility bills and buying groceries so that power generators can reap enormous profits."

Cost-based wholesale pricing is one component of the Progressive Caucus Energy Plan, which will protect consumers, increase research and development for alternative energy sources, and protect against common market power abuses.

"We must begin by protecting consumers by enacting cost-based whole sale pricing so that power companies cannot take
advantage of winter cold snaps or summer heat waves to increase prices," said Lee. "We do not want to deny reasonable profits, just prevent unjust prices."

"The answer to our energy problems does not lie beneath the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but MUCH closer to home," said Lee. "It will be found in a comprehensive, forward-thinking national energy policy that protects Americans and safeguards our planet."