NEW UTILITY DISTRICT FOR PALMDALE? VOTE, EDISON SALE REQUIRED.Byline: Jim Skeen Staff Writer
PALMDALE - Would Palmdale residents and business people be better off if the Palmdale Water District also became an electrical utility - like Los Angeles' Department of Water and Power?
The Palmdale Water District has been quietly studying the possibility - which would involve a legal battle to take over transmission lines from Southern California Edison Southern California Edison (or SCE Corp), the largest subsidiary of Edison International (NYSE: EIX), is the primary electricity supply company for much of Southern California. It provides 11 million people with electricity. - and has obtained a consultant's report that gives it a tentative recommendation.
Edison officials have already promised to fight any takeover and have raised questions about the potential cost, practicality and benefits to Palmdale residents, although water district officials say they have come to no decision.
``All we are doing is looking at the possibilities,'' Palmdale Water District General Manager Dennis LaMoreaux said Thursday.
The district's board will receive a briefing on the report at 1 p.m. today at the district office, 2029 E. Ave. Q.
Even if the board were to move toward forming a utility district, it would be done only with the backing of the district's customers and would take years to complete, LaMoreaux said.
The water district - which includes Palmdale's central and eastern portions, mostly east of the Antelope Valley Freeway The Antelope Valley Freeway is a freeway in Los Angeles and Kern counties in southern California. It is signed as California State Highway 14 along its length. It connects Greater Los Angeles to the rapidly developing Antelope Valley. and south of Avenue P - has the authority to become an electricity provider with a vote of its board, officials said.
``The district is an irrigation irrigation, in agriculture, artificial watering of the land. Although used chiefly in regions with annual rainfall of less than 20 in. (51 cm), it is also used in wetter areas to grow certain crops, e.g., rice. district; that is how it was formed in 1918. One of the powers of an irrigation district is the generation and distribution of electrical power,'' LaMoreaux said.
The report, prepared by Kansas-based Black and Veatch, was commissioned by the district in response to the statewide energy problems that emerged last year.
The inch-thick report looks at a variety of options for the district, including solar, wind and natural gas energy generation to power its well pumps and treatment plant, as well as taking over electrical service Electrical service, in building wiring, refers to the wiring that connects the electric utility's cables in the street to the building. Specifically, electrical service is the wiring from the street, through the meter and up to the panelboard, but no farther. in central and eastern Palmdale.
Over 10 years, an electric utility could draw in $42.2 million in revenue while costing the water district $38.4 million to acquire and run the electrical system, the report says. The report assumes that the expanded water district would charge the same rates as Edison.
The option of forming a utility district merits consideration because public power agencies fared better during last summer's energy crunch, LaMoreaux said.
The state had to take over the responsibility for buying power Buying Power
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PGE Perfect Girl Evolution filed for reorganization under bankruptcy law. Still, an Edison official said, there's no plan to sell off any assets.
``Our distribution system is not for sale, and it would have to be taken through eminent domain eminent domain, the right of a government to force the owner of private property sell it if it is needed for a public use. The right is based on the doctrine that a sovereign state has dominion over all lands and buildings within its borders, which has its origins in , with all the court proceedings that would entail,'' Edison spokeswoman Alis Clausen said.
Edison officials said they think the water district's consultants underestimated the cost of a takeover, which they say would provide no benefits to customers.
The energy market has stabilized, the company is paying off its debts and should be able to resume buying its own power next year, Edison officials said.
Edison officials said Palmdale's situation is different than that of municipal utilities like Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. or Burbank, which were formed decades ago and have their own power plants.
A new municipal utility would still be tied into California's power grid and susceptible to rolling blackouts Rolling blackout refers to an intentionally-engineered electrical power outage, caused by insufficient available resources to meet prevailing demand for electricity. For information about accidental blackouts that are not intentionally engineered, see power outage. just like Edison customers, Edison officials said.
``Any utility formed now would be subject to much of the same market dynamics as investor-owned utilities,'' Edison spokesman Paul Klein said. ``We don't understand why they think they can provide less-expensive power than we can.''
The last municipal utility formed in California was Sacramento's, established in 1947 after two decades of effort, Edison officials said, though a municipal utility district is under consideration in the east San Francisco Bay Area “Bay Area” redirects here. For other uses, see Bay Area (disambiguation).
The San Francisco Bay Area, colloquially known as the Bay Area or The Bay , officials said.
San Francisco San Francisco (săn frănsĭs`kō), city (1990 pop. 723,959), coextensive with San Francisco co., W Calif., on the tip of a peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, which are connected by the strait known as the Golden voters last year narrowly turned down a public power proposal, and a Tulare County irrigation district investigated going into the electrical business, but gave it up.