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Placer Water OK’s interim Middle Fork power pact with PG&E

Short-term pact would be replaced with long-term one if state utilities panel approves long-term agreement
By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Media Life columnist
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The Placer County Water Agency and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. have OK’d a temporary power purchase pact as a stopgap until a permanent agreement can be approved by the California Public Utilities Commission.

The state commission has held the proposed, long-term agreement without acting on it since last May and is could be approved April 18, agency Director of Strategic Affairs Einar Maisch said Friday.

With Federal Energy Regulatory Commission relicensing approvals in place for another 50 years, the county-agency owned Middle Fork Project was to have the long-term agreement in place by May 1. Maisch said the long-term pact will allow PG&E to purchase power from the project for four years, eight months at market rates.

“We don’t expect any protests (if the state commission approves the project,” Maisch said. “But it won’t be final until mid-May.”

The new long-term agreement is designed to replace an existing 50-year contract that expires April 30. It covers the sale of the electrical energy produced by the Water Agency’s five hydroelectric power plants.

Andy Fecko, the agency’s director of resource development, told the board Thursday that the interim contract may be needed for only a few weeks, or not at all, but that the two organizations needed to be prepared for any possible delay.

The contract also was approved earlier Thursday by the Middle Fork Project Finance Authority, a joint powers partnership between the Water Agency and Placer County.

The new pact was approved 4-0, with Director Joshua Alpine, a PG&E employee, absent for discussions and the vote.