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CalEnergy files new suit

December 12, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

A week after it was announced CalEnergy had dropped its latest lawsuit against Southern California Edison, a new legal dispute has erupted between the companies.

In a press release this morning, CalEnergy officials announced they have filed yet another lawsuit against Edison, claiming the utility had not met the terms of the contract the companies have.

The lawsuit seeks "capacity bonus payments," one of three calculations specified in the contract under which Edison pays for energy from CalEnergy.

Vince Signorotti, land manager for CalEnergy, which operates facilities near the Salton Sea, said, "We wish we could avoid the courts, but Edison continues to leave us no other option to enforce our agreements."


Signorotti continued, "Two previous lawsuits this year have helped to force Edison to act responsibly, but Edison just can't seem to get it right."

Signorotti claimed Edison "is ignoring clear contractual agreements it has signed with us."

Edison officials said the claims by CalEnergy "are baseless," adding the claims are not consistent with the terms of the contract.

The latest claims against Edison come just a week after CalEnergy dropped a lawsuit filed in November against Edison.

In that suit, CalEnergy claimed Edison was in breech of contract but that suit focused on Edison making back payments for money it owed to CalEnergy.

That matter ended when Edison announced new plans to pay CalEnergy and all other power provides to whom the utility owes money by no later than March.

CalEnergy accepted that payment schedule, dropped its lawsuit, and CalEnergy officials said they looked forward to resuming a more positive relationship with Edison.

CalEnergy's first lawsuit against the company was filed a year ago, when Edison failed to pay for several months of power supplies. CalEnergy said Edison owed it more than a $100 million.

At that time, CalEnergy won the right in Imperial County Superior Court to sell power on the open market until Edison met its payment obligations. That legal battle ended in a settlement.

Signorotti said CalEnergy has attempted to help Edison as it struggled to avoid bankruptcy and return to credit worthiness.

"But Edison continues to renege on paying what it plainly owes under the contracts it has agreed to. It seems the court action is the only way we can get Edison's attention and fair treatment," he said.

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

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