The city of Moreno Valley?s new utility may be stopped dead or significantly slowed in its tracks by an upcoming ballot measure backed by $670,000 from Southern California Edison. The city in Riverside County began serving a new housing development in February, providing 200 kW to 156 residential customers. Moreno Valley?s utility service intends to expand into other greenfields. ?We have no intention of encroaching on Edison territory,? said Tom Breitkreuz, Moreno Valley director of public works. Greenfield or not, Edison is vigorously opposing the municipalization effort, as it has with similar efforts by cities in its territory. The city will face an initiative in November that aims to restrict its funding of utility activities. Edison provided the Moreno Valley Residents for Responsible Utility Service, the group sponsoring the ballot measure, with support for its efforts to restrict the city?s use of general fund money. Edison?s contributions include a $600,000 loan from the utility, with the payback terms unspecified, along with a $50,000 cash contribution and $20,000 in in-kind services, according to Charley Wilson, Edison spokesperson. The Moreno Valley City Council passed a resolution in June 2001 to create a public utility to provide service to new residential, commercial, and industrial developments to spur growth via lower electricity costs. It signed a turnkey deal with distribution and customer service provider ENCO Utility Services. The city?s 20-year projected load is 85-87 MW, according to Breitkreuz. Wilson claimed the city made the decision to form a power agency to serve greenfield divisions in secret and ignored concerns raised by himself and a handful of residents about costs and other risks. ?The city didn?t follow normal public review process,? he said. He didn?t accuse city officials of violating the open-meetings law but said they weren?t in compliance with its spirit. ?Mr. Wilson desires to create a picture of the city being evil and doing wrong, when just the opposite is the case,? Breitkreuz countered. ?Negotiations with ENCO did take place behind ?closed doors? (as they do with most negotiated actions), and when the terms of the agreement were ready, they were made public,? he added. The rates the city charges are on par with Edison?s although the city?s costs are lower?even factoring in the exit fee. Savings are supposed to go into the general fund, but it is too early to see any significant amounts, Breitkreuz added. Edison filed California Public Records Act requests to get access to the documents supporting the muni effort, including names of those who were hired and how much money was spent on creating a public power agency. Wilson said the city, which has had to cut funding elsewhere, spent $3 million on the utility. That figure was challenged by Breitkreuz, who said that to date the city has spent a little over $1 million, with more than half that amount?$586,000?going to Edison for interconnections, application studies, agreements, and field construction. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved four interconnection deals, and four more are pending.