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California state Senate passes bill to aid utility

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The state Senate approved a bill Friday that would help a struggling utility pay its debt, significantly altering the plan negotiated by Gov. Gray Davis.

The bill lets Southern California Edison issue $2.5 billion in revenue bonds to pay debts amassed when prices for wholesale electricity reached record-high levels in the last year. Approved 22-17, the bill now goes to the Assembly, which is considering a similar measure.

The House bill shifts the burden of repaying the bonds to commercial and industrial power users. Business interests and Edison oppose the bill.