TULSA, Okla., March 3, 2004 — Williams announced it has reached agreement on terms to settle with two California utilities resolving outstanding disputes, including refund liability, related to natural gas and power markets in 2000 and 2001.
The settlement of $140 million is in addition to an earlier settlement of $417 million reached in 2002 with the state governments of California, Washington and Oregon.
The expected earnings impact of the settlement with Pacific Gas and Electric Company and Southern California Edison Company was reflected in Williams’ fourth-quarter 2003 financial results.
State officials argued that the independent power providers who sold electricity to PG&E Co., Southern California Edison and other utilities had illegally manipulated the state’s power markets in 2000 and 2001, causing a spike in electricity prices. PG&E Co. was forced to enter Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
The bulk of the $140 million settlement reached on Feb. 25 will go to PG&E Co., which is $75 million, according to reports from the Sacramento Bee. The rest will be split between Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric and a few other municipal utilities.
Upon the filing of definitive agreements, the settlement will be subject to approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the California Public Utilities Commission and U.S. Bankruptcy Court (PG&E).
Williams, through its subsidiaries, primarily finds, produces, gathers, processes and transports natural gas. Williams’ gas wells, pipelines and midstream facilities are concentrated in the Northwest, Rocky Mountains, Gulf Coast and Eastern Seaboard. More information is available at www.williams.com.