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Tokyo-based Electric Power Subsidiary partners with AP Solar in 400 MW Texas Solar Project

LCG, August 6, 2020—J-Power USA Development Co, a subsidiary of the Electric Power Development Co. headquartered in Tokyo, has joined a joint venture to develop a 400 MW Texas solar project.

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Texas Solar Project Sold to CIP

LCG, July 31, 2020—An affiliate of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners has completed purchase of a 350 MW solar photovoltaic project near the Houston metro area from Solar Plus Development Inc. and Avondale Solar.

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Industry News

Regulator Sees ‘Collusion’ in Power Price Spikes

LCG, July 19, 2000--California Public Utility Commissioner Carl Wood said yesterday that the state regulators at their August 3 meeting may launch an investigation into possible illegal collusion and profiteering in the wholesale electricity market.

"There is outrageous profiteering that is going on at the present time," Wood told a San Diego news conference. "There are hints that collusion, possibly even illegal collusion, may have been involved in this price run-up, and one of the things that has been urged on us ... is that our commission hold investigatory hearings in order to get at the bottom of what is actually driving this price run-up."

The high price of wholesale power is big news in San Diego these days because residential customers of the local utility, San Diego Gas & Electric Co., have seen their monthly bills double since May.

Under Californias electric restructuring law, enacted in 1996, all residential and small commercial customers received a 10 percent rate cut that went into effect on January 1, 1998. Rates were then frozen for four years or until a utility paid off its stranded costs, whichever came first. SDG&E paid off its stranded costs fast and can now pass wholesale power price increases through to consumers.

Wood is one of two appointees made by Californias new Democrat Governor Gray Davis to the five-member commission. He is a former maintenance electrician at the San Onofre nuclear power plant owned by Southern California Edison Co. and was a top official of the Utility Workers Union of America.

Wood is not happy with deregulation of the electric industry, calling it a "mistake." He wants the regulatory commission to step in and reassert control. "The mistake has now turned into a crisis. We have to make sure that this crisis doesn't turn into a disaster," he said.

Art Larson, a spokesman for SDG&E, was also at the news conference and gamely told reporters "We believe theres a market-based solution out there." The company has proposed offering customers a fixed-price plan, which would solve the problem of high monthly bills by averaging payments over a year.

SDG&E customers in San Diego County and part of Orange County have seen a typical householders bill for electricity zoom from $50 in May to about $100, and all 1.1 million of the utilitys customers are upset. They have yet to look at the other side of the coin.

Because SDG&E has paid off its stranded costs, the transition charge on the electric bill is being dropped. About $100 million will be returned to customers. Another $390 million will be returned to residential and small commercial customers as the company shares with them the profit it made on the sale of its generating assets.

Altogether, SDG&E customers will receive an average of about $300 in the next month or two -- about six times the increase they are complaining about.

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