Federal judge rules IID lawsuit against CAISO can move forward
SAN DIEGO — A federal judge has ruled that the Imperial Irrigation District’s lawsuit alleging monopolistic practices by the California Independent System Operator can move forward.
The ruling from United States District Court Judge Anthony J. Battaglia came Monday.
CAISO had filed a motion to dismiss all claims in the IID lawsuit. Though the main claim is proceeding, the court dismissed IID’s federal antitrust and unlawful unfair competition law claims with prejudice and dismissed IID’s fraudulent UCL claim without prejudice.
Claims dismissed with prejudice bar plaintiffs from bringing an action on the same claim. Those dismissed without prejudice may file an amended complaint to address those issues that Battaglia found deficient.
“The court finds IID has sufficiently alleged monopolistic conduct that threatens competition … By depriving IID of its expanded MIC (Maximum Import Capacity), generators of renewable energy located within IID’s BAA (Balancing Authority Area) who cannot interconnect directly with the CAISO grid cannot compete with other generators for the business load serving entities located in or through the CAISO grid,” the court ruling states.
Battaglia also let stand the IID’s claims against CAISO for breach of contract, conversion, unjust enrichment and restitution.
“IID is pleased that the case against CAISO can now move forward,” said IID General Manager Kevin Kelley. “There is no doubt that the district, its renewable energy generators and ultimately its ratepayers have been harmed by the state’s grid operator in denying transmission access to IID’s balancing area.”
IID spent more than $30 million in upgrades to the Path 42 project with the belief that CAISO would increase the district’s maximum import capacity, which wasn’t the case.
The ruling states that “CAISO implicitly requested, by and through its conduct that IID perform the work, labor, and services,” for such project to allow them to increase their maximum import capacity. The ruling also states that CAISO benefitted from those upgrades at IID’s expense.