Earlier this week I heard on NPR that the President trotted out the old line about price caps being counter-productive - "they just make the problem worse". As far as I can see, a capped price makes a supply problem worse only if 1)people use more energy because the price is lower or 2)suppliers provide less because there is less profit in it.
If #1 is true, the Pres is making an argument for conservation (less use), which VP Cheney has dismissed. If #2 is true, the problem boils down to greed on the part of suppliers. In either case, I don't see where capping the price is the real issue. Unless I'm missing something here, capping profit margins combined with conservation and cutbacks by users would go a long way to easing California's crisis.