Local geothermal company CalEnergy did not come close to getting everything it wanted during a hearing Monday in Imperial County Superior Court regarding its lawsuit against Southern California Edison. The day may have gone to some extent to Edison, which won a 60-day reprieve on the lawsuit.
CalEnergy did get one court victory. Superior Court Judge Donal Donnelly upheld his March 22 decision that allowed CalEnergy to suspend its contract with Edison and sell its power on the open market, a move that has enabled CalEnergy — at least in part — to meet its debt owed in Imperial County. Donnelly held to his decision despite pressure from Edison that he reconsider.
The victory for CalEnergy is twofold. First the company can continue to sell its power on the open market, which keeps it in business. Second, Donnelly has continued to recognize that despite Edison's move to pay for the power on a "going forward" basis, the issue of back payments has not been addressed. If Donnelly had reconsidered his March 22 decision, it is possible the door would have been closed on CalEnergy's argument that it is owed at least $120 million in back payments dating back to November.