High court lets state seek energy refunds
California Attorney General Bill Lockyer.
By Julia Cheever
June 19, 2007
California Treasurer Bill Lockyer said Monday the U.S. Supreme
Court's action on an energy rate case means the state can seek
an additional $1 billion to $2 billion in refunds for Californians
for alleged overcharging during the state's 2000-01 energy crisis.
The high court refused to take up an appeal by several power
companies of a 2004 decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals in San Francisco.
The appeals court in that decision ordered the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission to consider granting the refunds to consumers
for the companies' alleged manipulation of the electric power
market between May and September 2000.
The ruling was made in a case in which Lockyer, then California
attorney general, in 2002 appealed the commission's initial refusal
to consider granting additional refunds.
Lockyer said, "The court's decision vindicates California
consumers and businesses, who still await justice six years after
they and their state were plundered by the energy pirates."
He said, "The federal regulator and power sellers now must
act quickly to get ratepayers the rest of the money they're owed
so we can, at long last, close the books on the energy crisis."
Lockyer spokesman Tom Dresslar said previous settlements with
some power companies have provided consumers with $3.2 billion
State attorneys have said the form of any future refunds granted
would be determined by the California Public Utilities Commission
and would probably be provided through reductions in future rates.
Lockyer took office as state treasurer in January.
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