PG&E Looks to Appeal Oakley Power Plant Court Ruling

PG&E just can’t take NO for an answer

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has resubmitted its application with the state’s Public Utilities Commission seeking approval of a natural gas-fired power plant project in East Contra Costa County.

The 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco sided with consumer advocacy group The Utility Reform Network, or TURN, in a 3-0 ruling last month that said the state’s Public Utilities Commission acted unlawfully in hastily approving the 586-megawatt power plant. The judges did not address the merits of the Oakley Generating Station project in its ruling.

PG&E’s new application, filed late last week, provides parties a chance to testify for or against the plant and present evidence, the utility said in the March 30 filing. The application requests that the commission make a decision by Oct. 11.

“We think it addresses and remedies the process,” PG&E spokeswoman Lynsey Paulo said. “The Oakley project is the right project at the right time.”

TURN disagrees.

“They seem to be oblivious to the court’s decision. They still haven’t explained why this plan and why this price for ratepayers,” spokeswoman Mindy Spatt said. “They’re once again demanding approval without taking time to justify what they’re asking for.”

PG&E argues throughout the 26-page document that the 586-megawatt power plant would serve the state’s energy needs, though the application is largely unchanged from the plan approved in December 2010.

The company still aims to bring the plant online by July 2016. Radback Energy would build the plant and sell it to PG&E.

Though their role is minimal, Oakley leaders support the project for the millions in annual taxes and hundreds of construction jobs it could provide.

City Manager Bryan Montgomery said PG&E’s filing is good news for the city and hopes for a successful outcome.

Since the plant broke ground last summer, only minimal grading work has been done at the site, which consists of 22 acres of industrial property near the Antioch Bridge on Bridgehead Road.

At peak operation during the summer, the plant would produce enough electricity to keep lights and appliances on in about 500,000 homes.