Southern California Edison, whose plan for a new interstate transmission line has been rebuffed by Arizona regulators, is looking to the federal government to clear the way.
The utility is asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to begin proceedings that could eventually lead to an override of Arizona's denial.
Such a ruling would be the first under new legislation that established "national interest" energy corridors nationwide, some of them through environmentally sensitive public lands.
Edison's "initial filing" asks federal regulators to begin considering the utility's proposed 230-mile line between Phoenix and Palm Springs.
Edison spokesman Les Starck said the company was taking the next step toward a formal application to preserve its options.
"We aren't threatening Arizona at all," Starck said. "Our preference is to work with the stakeholders to reconfigure the line, and we hope and expect that we'll be able to do that."
Commission spokeswoman Mary O'Driscoll said her agency would examine possible ways to resolve the issue. But it could lead to a formal request by Edison for permission to build the line despite Arizona's objections.