San Diego Gas & Electric filed suit Monday seeking to force three small cogeneration facilities to continue to produce electricity. The power plants, which generate 102 megawatts of electricity under long-term contracts with the utility, stopped producing power March 31 after the California Public Utilities Commission set new rates that are significantly lower than what the generators previously received, the suit said. The plants resumed production Tuesday, SDG&E said. The loss of the three natural-gas fired projects, owned by Sithe Energies, would increase the likelihood of blackouts for SDG&E's customers in San Diego and south Orange County, the suit said. A Sithe spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuit, which was filed in Superior Court in San Diego. Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric have been sued by small, alternative generators who are owed significant amounts by the utilities. SDG&E has remained current in its payments to generators.