Breaking News: Panel approves SoCal Edison rescue

Full Assembly to vote on Friday

August 30, 2001 – A rescue plan to save Southern California Edison from bankruptcy passed the energy committee Wednesday.

In this version, committee members removed tangible assets once under consideration – purchase of the transmission lines, which is now only an option, and title to thousands of acres of Sierra land, the Sacramento Bee newspaper reported.

The 11-7 vote is the result of days of negotiation. The full Assembly is expected to vote on the measure by Friday.

The 53-page plan, called SB 78xx, would allow the ailing utility to sell $2.9 billion in bonds, backed by business ratepayers. SoCal Edison currently has $3.9 billion in debt from unreimbursed energy costs.

SoCal Edison has disputed having to bankroll the remaining $1 billion but may be able to pay for almost half of it out of a $425 million tax refund from its parent company, Edison International.

As a surprise move, lawmakers Wednesday decided not to require SoCal Edison to transfer thousands of acres of sensitive Sierra watershed lands to a trust created by the state.

The committee voted to require development rights but not the title to the much-debated land.

On SoCal Edison’s part, it would cancel all litigation against the state and, once solvent, would resume purchasing electricity for its 4.2 million customers.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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