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JPMorgan loses tussle over Huntington Beach power station

January 05, 2013|Marc Lifsher
  • Power plant at Huntington Beach. State grid operators want to install voltage units to stabilize the Southern California electrical system.
Power plant at Huntington Beach. State grid operators want to install voltage… (Francine Orr / Los Angeles…)

SACRAMENTO -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. has lost a bid to stop state electric grid operators from installing equipment at two Huntington Beach power plants to help prevent brownouts next summer.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled late Friday that JPMorgan, which has a contract to resell power from two other units of the plant, does not have the contractual power to veto installation of needed voltage condensers.

The devices are needed at the shoreline plant to protect the Southern California electrical grid from power spikes and shortages when air conditioners are working overtime.

The California electricity grid operator wants to make sure that the state has enough power to compensate for the loss of 2,000 megawatts from the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, whose reactors are shut down for safety reasons.

"We're obviously very pleased with the order," said Stephanie McCorkle, a spokeswoman for the Folsom-based California Independent Systems Operator, which runs most of the California electrical grid. "It allows us to continue efforts to maintain reliability for the people of Southern California."

JPMorgan could not be reached for comment.

The grid operator's legal action had strong support from Gov. Jerry Brown, Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and other officials.

"With the ongoing outage at the San Onofre Generating station, the back-up energy that these condensers will generate is needed before next summer," Brown wrote to the commission Nov. 28. "Any attempt by JPMorgan ... to stand in the way of this important contract should be soundly rejected."

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