FERC Asked to Suspend CPUC Auctions

Fortnightly Magazine - February 15 1995
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Southern California Edison (SCE) has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to halt the state's Biennial Resource Plan Update energy auction (BRPU). SCE charges that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) violated the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) and FERC regulations by reinstating the auction late last year.

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SCE believes that the auction, which requires California utilities to enter purchased-power contracts, could increase its potential stranded costs by up to $4 billion (in nominal dollars). According to SCE, the auction would lift its payments above avoided costs. Specifically, SCE wants the auction suspended until the CPUC demonstrates that the BRPU contracts meet PURPA avoided-cost standards. The utility also wants the FERC to stay the March 29 deadline for SCE to sign contracts with the winning bidders.

SCE vice president of planning and technology, Vikram Budhraja, said that the utility has negotiated with six of the 10 winning independent power producers, which represent 558 of the 686 megawatts of power purchases mandated by the BRPU.

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