Renewable Energy

Power producers to appeal bankruptcy court ruling on PG&E energy contracts

Credit: REUTERS/ELIJAH NOUVELAGE

Power producers NextEra Inc, Consolidated Edison Inc and Calpine Corp on Thursday said they will appeal to try to overturn a recent decision by a judge that a federal regulator has no say in whether utility PG&E Corp may reject its power purchase agreements if it chooses to while in bankruptcy.

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SAN FRANCISCO, June 14 (Reuters) - Power producers NextEra Inc NEE.N, Consolidated Edison Inc ED.N and Calpine Corp on Thursday said they will appeal to try to overturn a recent decision by a judge that a federal regulator has no say in whether utility PG&E Corp <PCG.N> may reject its power purchase agreements if it chooses to while in bankruptcy.

PG&E's power purchase agreements are valued at up to $42 billion and the matter of whether the company can walk away from them belongs exclusively in bankruptcy court, Judge Dennis Montali of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in San Francisco said in a June 7 decision.

Montali, who is overseeing PG&E's bankruptcy, rejected the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's argument that it has “concurrent jurisdiction” over the agreements.

The dispute involving the regulator, PG&E and companies from which it buys power has been one the most contentious fights so far in the San Francisco-headquartered utility's bankruptcy, launched in January.

PG&E sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection expecting billions of dollars in liabilities stemming from devastating California wildfires in recent years traced to its equipment.

In notices of appeal filed on Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in San Francisco, NextEra, Consolidated Edison and Calpine said they would appeal Montali's decision to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California or the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

(Reporting by Jim Christie Editing by Susan Thomas and Chris Reese)

((jim.christie@thomsonreuters.com; Tel: +1-415-677-2539; Reuters Messaging: jim.christie.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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