cost of power inverter Edison Gets OK To Sue State for Cost of Power / Utility wants the $5 billion it paid for pricey wholesale electricity
A federal judge yesterday ruled that Southern California Edison could sue the state for passing on nearly $5 billion in wholesale power costs accumulated since last summer to customers.The ruling is the first time the court has weighed on whether Edison and Pacific Gas and Power companies have complex problems.The right to recover debt totaling $11 billion.In his ruling, the United StatesS.District Judge Ronald Lew rejected the California utility commission's request to dismiss Edison's lawsuit and said the utility's lawsuit could now be tried.Meanwhile, Lew rejected Edison's Motion for an immediate determination to recover billions of dollars in debt."This is a huge victory," said Edison spokesman Jill Alexander ."."We believe we will win the trial."PG & E has a similar lawsuit pending in the federal court in Auckland.Comments are scheduled for January.30."PG & E is pleased that federal judges in Los Angeles have agreed with Southern California Edison that federal law authorizes utility companies to recover their reasonably generated wholesale electricity costs through retail prices, the company said in a statement.PG & E called on PUC to work with utilities to "stabilize customer rates to avoid the impact of wholesale power costs on rates.PUC's lawyer, Harvey Morris, said there was little chance of an appeal against yesterday's decision."We may be on trial," he said ."No problem with utility companies.The confident tone of PG & E and Edison reflects the belief of the officials of the two companies that the law is on their side, demanding an end to the current interest rate freeze.PG & E officials argued that the conditions for ending the freeze had been met as early as last May and that they should be allowed to recover all subsequent wholesale power costs ---Up to $7 billion.Edison's victory in court yesterday came after Friday's setback.C.He said utility companies did not have enough reason for why the United States did notS.Authorities should be forced to limit wholesale electricity prices in California.Edison then announced plans to cut 1,450 jobs in the coming months in order to save about $0.465 billion.PG & E said no layoffs have been considered.Last week, PUC approved a temporary 10% increase in electricity bills after warnings that PG & E and Edison were on the verge of bankruptcy.Both utilities said they would run out of cash in a few weeks.Consumer groups were critical of yesterday's ruling."First of all, it's time for state policy makers to take immediate and strong action to protect the interests of California consumers," Bob Finkelstein said ." A lawyer for the San Francisco Utility Reform Network.He said that Edison's request to recover the expenses of the past was "odd" and "false ".But Ron Olsen, a lawyer representing Edison, said federal regulations supported utility companies in trying to recover outstanding debt cases that replaced state law."State officials will have to face the fact that they have to implement some kind of project that will allow us to recover costs over time," he said .".Meanwhile, in Sacramento, Speaker of Congress Robert HertzbergLos Angeles, set up an 18-A member committee responsible for investigating various components of California's dysfunctional energy market.The General Assembly's committee on energy costs and supplies will hold its first meeting on Thursday.Hertzberg said that members of the committee were particularly interested in the recent profits of power generation companies ---According to some estimates, this figure has reached $12 billion since last summer."The public should know where something went wrong and they should know where the money went," he said ."."They should get the answer. we will get the answer."Lawmakers will also hold a series of public meetings in the state to listen to the small-Business owners and consumers, the spokesman said.D-member Fred KeeleyBoulder Creek said that the legislature will now focus on "market reform", "including changing the way electricity contracts are negotiated, and if the generator is withholding electricity during peak demand to raise prices, increase penalties.Three members of the Bay Area will serve on the new committee: D-John Dutra, D-San Francisco MPMembers of Fremont and D-Manny DiazSan Jose.In other areas of development, Hertzberg and Senate President John BurtonSan Francisco will accompany the governor.Gray Davis to Washington, D.C.C.Today's meeting on the energy crisis.The meeting, convened by President Clinton, was partly aimed at easing rhetoric between politicians, utilities and regulators.But it is reported that participants will put pressure on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to limit wholesale electricity prices in California.Last week, the European Commission reiterated its position that wholesale limits are not an adequate solution to the state's energy chaos.Instead, federal regulators tend to allow market time to "self"Correct the imbalance between supply and demand ".