In 1985, Citizens Energy began its electricity industry operations by buying power from utilities with surplus generating capacity, reselling the excess power to other utilities, and using the profits to help low-income families pay their electricity bills. This initial experience ultimately led Citizens to win a landmark federal decision that foreshadowed the deregulation of the electricity industry and the formation of an independent Citizens Energy electric power marketing company.
Through an arrangement with the Utah Municipal Power Agency, Citizens Energy made surplus generating capacity available to third-party buyers in the Southwest. Citizens then used the profits to benefit low-income households served by the utility. Within two years, the program was buying and selling more than 3.2 million kilowatt hours of electricity and delivering assistance to needy customers of three California and Utah utilities.
Building on this experience, Citizens Energy formed the nation’s first independent electric power marketer in 1988 – Citizens Power & Light Corporation. This company’s mission was to acquire, exchange, and market electric power under contracts extending from several months to several decades.
Before launching its electricity operations, Citizens Energy won a landmark decision from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that foreshadowed the eventual deregulation of the electricity industry. FERC approved Citizens’ innovative petition to allow Citizens to buy and sell inter-utility electricity without restrictive rate regulation. This pioneering decision enabled Citizens Power & Light to close more than 30 major power sale contracts within a few years, becoming the nationally recognized leader in the field of electricity power marketing.
Citizens Power & Light’s customers ranged from major electric utilities throughout North America to the fast-growing independent power development industry. Citizens Power & Light increased the timeliness and cost-effectiveness of selling power in the hugely fragmented electricity market by providing services to reduce risks, lower generating costs, and adding value. Among these services, Citizens developed and implemented effective demand-side management programs, which have since become increasing common strategies for electricity users to reduce their energy use and save money.
In 1995, Citizens Power & Light formed a partnership with Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc. and was renamed Citizens Lehman Power LP. Citizens Energy eventually sold its interest in the partnership.
Citizens Energy is partnering with San Diego Gas & Electric to develop a large-scale 500 kV high-voltage transmission project in Southern California to improve electric grid operation and enable access to one of the largest sources of renewable power in the United States – thousands of megawatts of geothermal, solar, and wind resources from the Salton Sea region and Imperial County.
The Sunrise Powerlink is a 120-mile, $1.9 billion power line that could deliver as much as 1,000 megawatts of clean energy. Once completed in 2012, the Sunrise Powerlink will enable SDG&E to meet three important objectives:
• Improving reliability: The Sunrise Powerlink will be the first new major powerline to connect San Diego’s growing population and economy to the electric grid in a quarter-century.
• Providing direct access to renewable resources in the Imperial Valley: Although California has established aggressive renewable energy goals, very few large transmission lines connect population centers like San Diego to renewable energy-rich areas like Imperial County. The Sunrise Powerlink will enable SDG&E to import enough green energy to meet the needs of over 650,000 homes and limit the need to build more conventional power plants that use fossil fuels.
• Reducing costs for customers: The Sunrise Powerlink is expected to save consumers over $100 million per year in energy costs by limiting the need to run aging, inefficient power plants. The Sunrise Powerlink also will reduce transmission congestion bottlenecks that cost customers millions of dollars in annual congestion fees.
Citizens Energy is financing a large portion of this line in Imperial County, and will use 50% of its profits from this investment to assist low-income and elderly families in Imperial Country with their energy needs, such as money-saving home weatherization improvements. To learn more about the Solar Homes Project, click here
To learn more about the Solar Homes Project, click here.
To learn more about the Sunrise Powerlink, click here.
Businesses that are interested in partnering with Citizens Energy on electricity-related projects are encouraged to reach us at 617-338-6300.