Voice: Edison going bankrupt would be bad for many, including local geothermals

October 06, 2001

Who cares if Southern California Edison goes bankrupt, now that the Legislature has adjourned without acting to rescue our electric utility? This may be hard to swallow for those who don't like their power company — but everyone should care.

First, if Edison is allowed to go into bankruptcy, it would hurt our geothermal power plants we operate here that provide enough electricity for approximately 80,000 homes. Covanta Geothermal generates up to 80 megawatts of renewable, environmentally sound electricity. This electricity, which does not have the emissions associated with more traditional fossil fuel-fired power plants, is sold to Southern California Edison under long- term contracts.

In addition, with 55 employees and an annual payroll of over $3.9 million, Covanta Geothermal plays an important role as a local employer and as one of the largest property taxpayers in Imperial County. Edison owes our company millions, and there's no way to know what part of that we would be paid in bankruptcy proceedings.


Second, everyone in California will suffer in other ways. Bonds issued by school boards, local governments and other authorities will carry a surcharge. That's because those who issue the bonds will see our state as a risk since even our biggest utilities don't pay their debts. The costs of capital improvements will increase and the extent of those improvements will decrease.

Covanta Geothermal is proud of our local community involvement including in-kind and monetary donations as well as volunteer efforts.

The Legislature has one more chance to help Edison pay its bills to us and others, in the upcoming special session. We care especially because that means helping green energy suppliers — and it also means keeping California strong.

Who can think of a worse time to weaken our state?


General manager

Covanta Geothermal Operations Inc.


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