Vincent Farnsworth 6:31 p.m., Dec. 4
What Citizens Covet Half of SDG&E's Sunrise Powerlink Capacity?
Various parties, from San Diego Gas and Electric Company in support to Utility Consumers Action Network in opposition, have filed briefs with California's Public Utilities Commission in the SDG&E application "to lease a 50 percent portion of the transfer capability on that portion of the Sunrise Powerlink Transmission Project ('Sunrise') located in Imperial County ('Border-East Line')" to the Boston-based firm Citizens Energy Corporation.
Arrangements are being made to protect Citizens from being named as a California public utility by creating a Citizens-managed limited liability company to handle the lease arrangements and payments.
SDG&E contends that there are great benefits under Citizens lease agreement, especially if one is unemployed and living in the Imperial Valley. UCAN opposes the lease as it seems to provide no clear benefits for SDG&E customers in the County of San Diego beyond what the state legislature already mandates for alternative energy transmission and consumption.
One reason SDG&E is hot to trot on constructing the Sunrise Powerlink line right this minute is the $83 million in pre-paid rent that it will be receiving from Citizens under the lease agreement.
CPUC's Division of Ratepayer Advocates is generally in favor of the lease agreement for its unique public benefits, but CPUC DRA opposes the agreement's approval by CPUC as setting an agency precedent for citing in future investor owned utility leasing agreements.
The Sunrise Powerlink project awaits approval by the Forest Supervisor of the Cleveland National Forest before it may cross federally-protected areas. There is no resolution yet in Sempra LNG's related Energia Costa Azul shutdown by Mexican court action, and the impact of not having Mexican electrical sources for the remaining SDG&E Sunrise Powerlnk capacity is unknown. SDG&E still has yet to pledge that the Sunrise Powerlink project will be devoted to alternative electricity sources.
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