Regulators agreed to subsidies for poor households in the severely depressed Imperial Valley May 26. The California Public Utilities Commission\u2019s unanimous vote followed on the heels of its approval to allow rate increases for low-income residences and low energy consumers to address what regulators considered an inequitable subsidy by bigger energy users in Pacific Gas & Electric territory. Winning the 5-0 vote was a San Diego Gas & Electric proposal to lease for 30-years a section of its Sunrise Powerlink transmission line, which is to stretch across the Imperial Valley and over the mountains into the San Diego area. The non-profit Citizen Energy is to lease for $83 million the section of the high voltage line expected to transport new geothermal and other alternative energy sources. \u201cIt a tough decision as I generally don\u2019t like raising rates to utility customers to subsidize other social benefits,\u201d said Mike Florio, CPUC member. He noted that he supported the decision because the Sunrise project \u201cwill be contributing economic mitigation for the effects of the enormous renewable development we see taking place in Imperial Valley.\u201d Under the lease, Citizen is to disperse about $1 million\/year to support low-income assistance in Imperial County. Other ratepayers could pay higher rates from increases in California Independent System Operator costs, according to the CPUC. The line lease is also expected to create jobs and boost the tax base in the state\u2019s poorest county. Opponents of the lease with Citizen complained those reaping financially in Imperial are not SDG&E ratepayers. The non-profit Citizen Energy was formed by Joseph Kennedy, Jr. The three-decade lease was brokered by former CPUC member Susan Kennedy. In other news, the commission also approved a resolution to shutter two large generating units at Huntington Beach formerly owned by AES, which use seawater for cooling. The planned closure of AES Huntington units three and four, with a joint capacity of 452 MW, make way for Edison Mission Energy to take over the associated air pollution emission credits. Getting a hold of those emission credits allows the Edison affiliate to construct a 500 MW gas-fired plant, known as the Walnut Creek project, in the City of Industry. Edison Mission \u201ccannot operate Walnut Creek without first obtaining emission credits to offset air pollution created by the new plant,\u201d states the resolution. A long running legal battle over the dearth of emission offsets in the smoggy South Coast has kept new power projects from going forward. Upon firing up the new Edison Mission plant late in 2012, the aging units are to be permanently retired. \u201cBeginning June 1, 2013 or sooner, Walnut Creek\u2019s 500 MW capacity will more than offset the 452 MW loss\u201d of two Huntington Beach units, the resolution adds.