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CalEnergy will ask court to expedite case against Edison

November 22, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

Local geothermal company CalEnergy and Southern California Edison will meet in Imperial County Superior Court in El Centro on Dec. 17 as CalEnergy asks the court to expedite its case against Edison.

CalEnergy has filed a $100 million lawsuit against Edison claiming the utility is in breach of the contract between the companies. CalEnergy will argue that its case should move through the courts faster than such a case normally would.

The new legal battle between the companies rings similar to a dispute in November 2000 when CalEnergy filed its first lawsuit against Edison.

That lawsuit was filed after Edison failed to pay for energy received from CalEnergy over a number of months.

CalEnergy asked the court to expedite that case, with officials stating CalEnergy could not continue to operate unless Edison paid for the power or the geothermal company was allowed to sell power on the open market.

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Superior Court Judge Donal Donnelly allowed CalEnergy to break from its contract with Edison and sell on the open market until Edison started to pay again for the energy.

The companies struck a deal that ended the legal dispute. The agreement called for Edison to pay for the energy on a going- forward basis. Edison also was to a pay a portion of the back payments and would pay the rest of the back payments after the company became credit worthy.

CalEnergy's new concern stems from the fact Edison, through an agreement with the California Public Utilities Commission, has become credit worthy.

CalEnergy officials said despite that, Edison has not yet made additional back payments as per the deal between the companies.

They add they have concerns as to whether Edison will make such payments, which CalEnergy officials have said total about $100 million.

Edison officials stated in a press release the utility is in the process of paying its creditors and company officials hope to make all payments by the first quarter of 2002.

Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Jones will hear CalEnergy's arguments for an expedited case Dec. 17

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

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