Kapaia power plant is focus of California lawsuit

Scheduled to be heard in a California courtroom later this week is a lawsuit between a consultant and the current owner of Kaua‘i’s newest power-generating unit.

Mainland energy giant Dominion Resources, of Richmond, Va., owner of the power plant at Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative’s Lihue Energy Service Center off Ma‘alo Road in Kapaia, is being sued for fraud and breach of contract by Power Partners International of San Diego.

Power Partners International is seeking around $6 million, or a 14 percent share in the power plant, plus punitive and general damages and attorney fees, claiming they were never paid by Dominion for services rendered.

Dominion representatives, who would not comment specifically on the case nor a Pennsylvania suit Dominion filed against Power Partners, dispute the Power Partners claim.

Alternative dispute resolution failed to reach a mutually agreeable outcome in early June in the California case, which is now proceeding to trial.

Representatives of Power Partners International as Kauai Power Partners negotiated a contract with Kauai Electric to build and operate the power plant before KE was purchased by KIUC.

During the construction phase of the plant, Kauai Power Partners was purchased by CNG Power Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., which in turn was purchased by Dominion.

It is Power Partners principals’ contention that they still own or are entitled to a share of the power plant, or 14 percent of the sale price should the plant be sold, Power Partners’ attorney John W. Howard said earlier.

The plant generates around one-third of the island’s electricity. Negotiations for KIUC to purchase the plant from Dominion are ongoing. KIUC is not named in either lawsuit.

Business Editor Paul C. Curtis can be reached at pcurtis@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 224).

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