FERC gives SoCal until Thursday to pay California PX

Southern California Edison Co. received an extension to noon Thursday PST to make a $215 million payment owed the California Power Exchange, under an emergency tariff amendment approved Tuesday by the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Meanwhile, the California Assembly Tuesday passed a bill that will permit the Department of Water Resources to purchase power through low-cost, long-term contracts with electricity generators at no more than 5.5�/kw-hr.


Southern California Edison Co. received an extension to noon Thursday PST to make a $215 million payment owed the California Power Exchange, under an emergency tariff amendment approved Tuesday by the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The extension is intended to give major parties "breathing room" as they try to work out a longer term solution to California's energy crisis, according to the filing.

Meanwhile, the California Assembly Tuesday passed a bill that will permit the Department of Water Resources to purchase power through low-cost, long-term contracts with electricity generators at no more than 5.5�/kw-hr. The legislation will now be taken up by the state Senate.

Southern California Edison's (SCE) payment was due Tuesday, but in a filing with the Securities and SCE, a unit of Edison International, said it would "temporarily suspend" payment on $596 million due bond holders and creditors, including the California PX.

Thursday, the California PX is scheduled to pay energy suppliers who have sold electricity through the exchange. The tariff revisions don't delay these payments. But if SCE still can't come up with the cash Thursday, the PX could sell SCE collateral it controls to pay suppliers, under the tariff.

FERC approved the extension shortly after the PX sought a 36-hr deferral.

The PX said the amendment either received support or was not opposed by SCE; San Diego Gas & Electric Co., a unit of Sempra Energy; Pacific Gas & Electric Co., a unit of PG&E Corp.; Williams Energy Marketing and Trading Co., a unit of Williams; and Enron Power Marketing Inc., a unit of Enron Corp.

Dynegy Power Marketing Inc., a unit of Dynegy Inc., opposed the extension. The California PX said it received no definitive answer from Duke Energy Trading & Marketing LLC, a unit of Duke Energy Corp.; Southern Co. Energy Marketing LP, a unit of Southern Co.; Reliant Energy Services Inc., a unit of Reliant Energy Inc.; and Calpine Corp.

Pointing up how serious the situation has become, credit rating agencies on Tuesday cut the ratings of SCE and Edison International as well as Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and its parent, PG&E Corp . to junk grades, moving the state's two biggest utilities even closer to bankruptcy.

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