The new federal energy bill's provision protecting existing transmission rights could resolve the impasse between the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power and Southern California Edison over who develops and controls a high-voltage line from Arizona to California, said an LADWP official. Edison proposed building a second transmission line along the route in proceedings started this year. The muni contested its right to construct the second Devers-Palo Verde line. The two utilities have been in negotiations ever since. LADWP interprets the legislation as upholding its ownership in the 500 kV Devers project. That is regardless of whether it or Edison builds the line connecting the Southwest to the L.A. basin, or whether they jointly own it. The newly enacted federal energy bill includes protections to "native load," transmission incentives, and participation funding, said Randy Howard, LADWP assistant chief operating officer. Implementation of the law will "impact how transmission and transmission rights will be managed going forward," he added. Whether the law will actually lead to an agreement between LADWP and Edison, according to Howard, hinges on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's rulemaking and orders implementing the law. LADWP interprets the energy bill as protecting native loads' access to the grid—keeping munis from getting stuck in line with others on a congested transmission highway. "LADWP does believe that our transmission capacity rights for native load will be firmly protected for physical delivery," Howard said. According to the Southern California Public Power Agency, which is not involved in the Devers dispute, Section 1233 of the legislation directs "FERC to 'take into account' the policy of preserving utilities' existing transmission rights." Paul Klein, Edison spokesperson, said, "We are unaware of anything in the new energy bill that will affect the [project] and the DWP's involvement." Gregg Fishman, California Independent System Operator spokesperson, added that after reading a related provision of the bill, he could not make heads or tails of its meaning. "If DWP says they know what it means, I guess I'd be inclined to believe them, but I sure wish they'd tell me how they figured it out." The heart of the debate is over costs and transmission rights. LADWP is adamant about remaining separate and apart from CAISO and free of its tariffs (<i>Circuit<\/i>, May 6, 2005).