Our Opinion: Money still owed

June 28, 2001

It probably is good news that CalEnergy and Southern California Edison have reached an agreement in which CalEnergy will again sell power to Edison.

However, the news is only positive as long as Edison lives up to its end of the agreement. We are not overly confident Edison will do so based on a track record since November of not making payments.

CalEnergy is an important company in the Imperial Valley. It is a prime source of revenue and jobs for the county. We applauded when CalEnergy sued Edison demanding payment for what it was owed and we supported the decision by a local judge that allowed CalEnergy to sell its power to other companies to stay afloat.

We applaud those who negotiated a settlement between CalEnergy and Edison. What it means is crucial energy this state is so in need of will stay in California and help address the power crisis.


However, the settlement will not solve the problems that led to the legal dispute between Edison and CalEnergy and other energy providers that filed lawsuits against Edison. These companies are owed millions and millions of dollars and should be paid in full, despite all the whimpering television commercials aired by Edison. (Instead of the ads showing employees worrying about the continuing health of Edison and advocating legislation to save it, it might be more forthright to show Edison shareholders and executives sitting on top of all the money they made in recent years.)

California is still facing a power crisis and there could be more problems in coming months as the state waits for more power plants to come online. Because that underlying problem still exists, we could see more legal battles.

Still, if this agreement with Edison is strong and stands up despite the state's energy crisis, we all should benefit.

We are pleased to see the agreement calls for Edison to pay CalEnergy the money it withheld over the five-month period. Edison is to immediately pay 10 percent of the $120 million it owes and then repay the rest over time.

That element of the pact does give us some ray of hope that Edison is serious and knows it needs to pay suppliers such as CalEnergy to stay in business.

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