California forges agreements with five energy companies


By Sylvie Dale, Online Editor

Aug. 8, 2002 — The state of California has made agreements with five energy companies to change long-term power contracts created when Western market power prices were high in 2001.

The state and the companies still are working on the final details of the settlements. A Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) administrative law judge said the settlements were almost finished, but didn’t name any of the companies involved, Associated Press reported.

Williams Cos. on July 26 announced it had reached an agreement in principle with California officials on the renegotiation of its power contracts with the state.

Williams said its agreement would resolve all of California’s outstanding claims against it, including the state’s claims for refunds that are under consideration by FERC.

Williams made the agreement with the California Department of Water Resources; the California attorney general (on its own behalf and on behalf of Oregon, Washington and California municipalities that had brought actions against Williams); the California Public Utilities Commission; the Electricity Oversight Board, and representatives for civil litigants.

The state also is working with eight other companies to renegotiate their contracts; the administrative law judge allowed until the rest of August rework the contracts, although the deadline for negotiations was to be August 9.

When electricity prices sank below $40 this year, California filed complaints with FERC to get them renegotiated.


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