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Edison strikes energy agreement

December 04, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

Local geothermal company CalEnergy has dropped its $100 million lawsuit against Southern California Edison following the reaching of an agreement expected to resolve a dispute over back payments Edison owes.

The agreement, between Edison and most of its renewable energy providers, would allow CalEnergy to be paid the money Edison owes it as early as February or March.

The payment would total 100 percent of what Edison owes CalEnergy, plus interest.

Vince Signorotti, land manager for CalEnergy, confirmed the agreement was approved Friday and CalEnergy has dropped its lawsuit.

In a press release, Edison officials said they are committed to paying the money the company owes to the renewable energy providers.

"We appreciate the large number of (renewable energy providers) who have supported our effort to deal fairly and equitably with all creditors and not single out any group for preferential payments," stated Stephen E. Frank, Edison president and chief executive officer.

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"We reaffirm our effort to pay all of our past-due obligations with interest during the first quarter of 2002," he said.

Doug Anderson, senior vice president and general counsel of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. — CalEnergy's parent corporation — also made a statement in the Edison press release.

"We believe this revised payment plan represents a positive outcome for CalEnergy and other (renewable energy providers) as we seek to recover payments for power delivered at the end of last year and earlier his year," Anderson stated.

The first legal dispute between CalEnergy and Edison erupted in November 2000 after Edison failed to make several months of payments for power received from CalEnergy and other energy providers.

CalEnergy filed a lawsuit seeking either back payments or to be released from its contract with Edison so it could provide power on the open market.

Imperial County Superior Court Judge Donal Donnelly ruled CalEnergy could sell its power on the open market.

However, the companies reached an agreement in June that ended that lawsuit and CalEnergy again started to provide energy to Edison.

In November CalEnergy filed a new lawsuit alleging Edison was not living up to the terms of the June agreement.

Under the terms of the agreement reached this week, CalEnergy officials said they are hopeful for a new start with Edison.

Edison officials said they will be able to pay CalEnergy and other energy providers in the first quarter of 2002 through the company's own money and through financing Edison would receive.

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

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