California asks FERC to order another $2.8 billion in power cost refunds


By Sylvie Dale, Online Editor

March 20, 2002 — California Attorney General Bill Lockyer filed a complaint with the Federal Energy Regulatory Agency (FERC) Wednesday asking the agency to order nearly $9 billion in power cost refunds, plus $2.8 billion.

The refunds would cover costs the state said it incurred while buying power for the electric customers of California after state regulators refused to allow two major utilities to pass on the rising costs of wholesale power and they became unable to continue purchasing power, Reuters News Service reported.

The $8.9 billion figure, an estimate of the cost of purchasing power for the consumers from October 2000 to June 2001, was the figure the state had said it would request, but the additional $2.8 billion came as a surprise to some. The complaint said that the additional sum would cover power purchases prior to October 2000.

A FERC administrative law judge has said he will probably make a decision in August regarding California’s $8.9 billion request.

While the state has been saying California electricity customers and the utilities buying wholesale power were being overcharged, large power generators such as Duke Energy Corp., Dynegy Inc. and Mirant Corp. have said the claims are unjustified.

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