Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tell It To The Judge!

The legal fight between PG&E and South San Joaquin Irrigation District went before the Third District Court of Appeals this week. At issue is whether the SSJID needs approval from the Local Area Formation Commission, or if it can proceed unilaterlally with its plans to aquire PG&E's assets via eminent domain.

PG&E continues to say "over our dead body" and argues that the SSJID's decision to push its case with LAFCO initially is itself an acknowledgement that the agency's blessing is needed to move forward. LAFCO is siding with PG&E, which is not surprising when (as reported in the Manteca Bulletin) its legal fees are being paid by... drumroll please... PG&E!

Monday's hearing stems form a string of decisions:

First, San Joaquin Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Humphries said that SSJID absolutely needed LAFCO's approval.

Then, the Third District Court of Appeals said Humphries was wrong.

Then LAFCO (PG&E) appealed that decision, which is why everbody was in court on Monday. A ruling on this latest skirmish is expected soon.

Through it all, SSJID maintains it can lower energy costs by running its own utility and that it is prepared to start its own utility if it doesn't prevail in court and if PG&E won't negotiate in good faith.

Power struggle continues [Manteca Bulletin]