California Capsule: SoCal Edison Will Sell Transmission : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

California Capsule: SoCal Edison Will Sell Transmission

LCG, Feb 26, 2001—California Gov. Gray Davis said late Friday that the state had agreed to pay Southern California Edison Co. $2.76 billion for that portion of the state's electric transmission grid owned by the utility.

The price, more than twice book value of the aging wires, would place the total value of the transmission facilities owned by the state's three investor-owned utilities at close to $9 billion, which is a lot more than the $3 billion state officials had said they would pay.

Davis said the state was close to a similar deal with San Diego Gas & Electric Co. but would not "feel comfortable" saying progress was being made in negotiations with Pacific Gas & Electric Co.

Other news from the tarnished Golden State:

Davis, a guest on NBC's "Meet the Press" yesterday, said every Californian would need to reduce electricity usage 10 percent if the state is to avoid power outages this summer. That takes into account the 5,000 megawatts of new generation the governor has promised to have installed by July. The governor also attempted to shift the blame for California's electric crisis to his predecessor, Republican Pete Wilson, who in 1996 signed the deregulation legislation written by a Democrat-controlled legislature and passed unanimously.

Mirant Corp., the former Southern energy unit of The Southern Co., said it has agreed to provide the California Department of Water Resources with 750 megawatts of electricity capacity next month. Additional terms of the contract were not disclosed. Randy Harrison, chief executive of the company's western U.S. operations, said "We became more confident in our ability to enter such a contract after we received full payment from (the Department of Water Resources) for a bill due February 20."

U.S. District Court Judge Frank Damrell has issued a stay in the case of four power producers sued by the California Independent System Operator to force them to continue power deliveries. Over the past couple of weeks, the judge had issued a series of restraining orders, one extending the other by a few days. The stay will keep the companies delivering electricity until further hearings, which are set for March 16. "It means the lights will stay on," said Patrick Dorinson, a spokesman for the ISO.

Legislation introduced in the California state Senate will keep Delano Energy Co. producing power for the time being. The plant, about 30 miles north of Bakersfield, produces 50 megawatts of electricity by burning agricultural waste, and hasn't been paid since December. Senate Bill 47 X would create five-year contracts with renewable power sources and pay between 7.5 cents and 8.5 cents per kilowatt-hour. That's not as much as the 17 cents Delano has been billing but not getting, but it's enough to make a profit.

-- Martin Thompson (, February 26, 2001

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