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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Docket #: R.04-04-003

Media Contact: Terrie Prosper, 415.703.1366, news@cpuc.ca.gov

PUC TO SET CAP ON GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS
PRODUCED WHILE GENERATING ELECTRICITY

As the details are worked out over the coming months, a key objective will be ensuring that this system is compatible with any other GHG cap-and-trade regime that may be developed in the future, either in California, the Western Region, nationally, or internationally. Therefore, the GHG emissions allowances associated with the Commission's load-based cap will be in the form of "tons of carbon-dioxide equivalent." The Commission plans to ultimately include all six of the major GHGs under the load-based cap, as doing so becomes feasible.

In setting the cap and developing compliance mechanisms, the Commission will seek to minimize costs to ratepayers, while providing appropriate incentives to utility managers and shareholders. The Commission intends to explore various approaches to flexible compliance, including banking, offsets and trading. While the Commission will consider establishing penalties for under-compliance, it will also investigate the concept of allowance sale incentives during the implementation phase. Under this mechanism, the Commission would certify GHG emission allowances based on superior performance, as defined by the Commission, that the utilities could sell outside of California to the benefit of their shareholders.

The Commission will continue to work with the Governor's Climate Action Team to ensure that municipal utilities are also subject to a GHG emissions reduction regime that will assist California in meeting the state's aggressive GHG reduction goals.

"If we're going to deal with the greenhouse gas issue in California, we're going to have to go down this road. With our decision today we are joining in the pioneering efforts started in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative," said PUC President Michael R. Peevey. "We hope that the parallel efforts on both coasts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will help move the ball forward on initiatives to reduce emissions and mitigate global climate change in the United States and around the world."

The proposal the Commission voted on is at http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/PUBLISHED/FINAL_DECISION/53720.htm 

For more information, please visit the PUC's website at www.cpuc.ca.gov.

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