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First deal finalized mere two hours after court ruling

March 23, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

Two hours — that's how long it took CalEnergy to finalize a deal to sell power to another utility after a ruling Thursday that the company could suspend its contract with Southern California Edison.

CalEnergy land manager Vince Signorotti said this morning the company will sell power to El Paso Merchant Energy.

EPME will then act as a broker for the energy and sell it to other utilities.

Signorotti said he does not know to whom EPME will sell the power. He said CalEnergy will track the sales.

David Sokol, chief executive officer for CalEnergy's parent company, said Thursday that CalEnergy wants to see its power sold within the state.

Signorotti said as CalEnergy starts to sell its power to EPME, it will return to normal operations.

He added that means it will start to pay its vendors, pay royalty fees to landowners upon whose land the CalEnergy plants operate, and pay the more than $4 million in property taxes owed to Imperial County by April 10.

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Signorotti said CalEnergy can discontinue selling power to El Paso at any time and start to sell again to Edison, but that would only happen after Edison shows it will pay.

Edison has not paid CalEnergy for five months, and CalEnergy officials say Edison owes it $140 million.

While the court ruling Thursday allows CalEnergy to suspend its contract with Edison, it neither modifies nor cancels that contract.

Signorotti added CalEnergy was able to sell its power to EPME soon after the ruling because company officials had talked to EPME prior to the hearing as part of set of contingency plans that could be enacted no matter the ruling.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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