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County resolution backs legislative support for CalEnergy

February 28, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

Action in support of legislation to help a local geothermal company get paid for its generated electricity was taken by the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

The board was told by CalEnergy Co. Inc. land manager Vince Signorotti that Southern California Edison will owe CalEnergy about $75 million by March 1 for electricity produced by local geothermal plants.

Edison has reportedly not paid CalEnergy since November for the 268 megawatts being generated in the local plants.

Despite marshaling but a bare majority, the board voted in favor of a resolution in support of Senate Bill 47x, introduced by state Sen. Jim Battin, R-La Quinta. The bill would specify the energy pricing methodology to be used under purchase agreements between the state's private and public utility companies and qualifying small power producers or cogeneration facilities.

"There is language in the bill as it stands today that allows for a repayment schedule from the utility companies to the cogeneration facilities," Battin said Tuesday.

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Battin was asked if the bill might have an effect on the lawsuit filed by CalEnergy seeking a Superior Court order that Edison pay CalEnergy.

"I would hope CalEnergy would consider dropping it or putting it off until this passes," Battin said.

Signorotti said he was unaware of Battin's interest in the lawsuit or that Battin had taken a position on it. He said it is premature to consider dropping the lawsuit and better to wait and see the bill satisfactorily enacted before any determination is made.

Battin introduced the bill last week and said it has bipartisan leadership support and support of the governor.

Under the bill, a utility such as Edison would be required to pay for power delivered in November on or before April 2, for power delivered during December payment would have to pay on or before May 1 and for power delivered during January payment would have to on or before June 1.

Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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