LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Lawyers for one of California's debt-ridden utility giants sought a federal court injunction Monday that would allow it to immediately begin recovering billions in dollars it has spent for wholesale power since last summer.
Southern California Edison, which sued the state Public Utilities Commission in November as California's power crisis worsened, wants to raise electricity rates roughly 15 percent over three years to recoup $2.5 billion in costs.
The state has said if Edison chose to recoup that amount within one year, rates would rise by nearly 50 percent.
At issue is whether the PUC has wrongly refused to lift a rate freeze that took effect when the state deregulated the utilities in 1996. The freeze has remained in effect -- except for a temporary, emergency rate -- even as wholesale power costs have skyrocketed since last summer.
Last month, Edison won a preliminary victory from U.S. District Court Judge Ronald S.W. Lew, who agreed with the utility's central claim that regulating wholesale rates was a federal concern.
But he allowed the PUC to pursue a claim that Edison ignored opportunities to buy electricity at a lower cost.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.