Major IID lawsuit delayed

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IID transmission lines

SAN DIEGO — A hearing on the Imperial Irrigation District’s federal anti-trust lawsuit against California’s largest operator of electric power lines has been delayed until May 12, an official in the U.S. District Court clerk’s office said on Friday, April 15.

The hearing on IID’s amended complaint and a motion by the defendant, the California Independent System Operator, to dismiss that action had been scheduled for April 14. The court official said the delay was filed by the court on March 24.

IID filed the suit in July alleging CAISO was illegally impeding IID’s efforts to link to CAISO power lines serving other areas of California. District Court Judge Anthony Battaglia dismissed part of the suit in November based on a motion by CAISO.

IID filed an amended complaint Jan. 6. CAISO attorneys responded on Feb. 5 by filing a motion to dismiss the amended complaint. The IID legal team filed a response to the dismissal request on March 4.

The legal battle comes amid increasing demand in California for renewable energy due to the state requiring utilities get 33 percent of the electricity they sell from such sources by 2020 and 50 percent by 2030. Imperial County, which is in IID’s service area, has become a major source of renewable energy with an increasing number of geothermal plants and solar farms. There also is a major wind farm.

According to its website, CAISO is a nonprofit corporation that manages the transmission of 80 percent of the electric power in California. Most power utilities in the state are members, but IID is not. IID’s suit alleges that by illegally impeding IID from connecting its power lines to other areas, CAISO violated the federal Sherman Anti-Trust Act and committed breach of implied contract.