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Tue Feb 19, 2013, 07:06 PM

California energy customers could get $1.6 billion in refunds

Source: Sacramento Bee

California electricity consumers could get refunds totaling $1.6 billion because of excessive rates charged during the initial phase of the energy crisis, the Public Utilities Commission said today.

The case involves allegations of market manipulation during the summer of 2000, when the first electricity shortages surfaced and wholesale electric prices began to skyrocket.

... According to the PUC, those companies that were found to have manipulated prices included Powerex, an arm of the government of British Columbia; Shell Energy North America; Trans Alta Corp. of Canada; and the U.S. government's own Bonneville Power Administration.

"This money was stolen from ratepayers in California by a bunch of sellers who conducted business like pirates," said PUC Commissioner Mike Florio in a prepared statement.

Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/02/19/5201536/californian-energy-customers-could.html

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Arrow 29 replies Author Time Post
Reply California energy customers could get $1.6 billion in refunds (Original post)
Newsjock Feb 2013 OP
McCamy Taylor Feb 2013 #1
Politicalboi Feb 2013 #2
YvonneCa Feb 2013 #8
Newsjock Feb 2013 #3
AsahinaKimi Feb 2013 #4
AtheistCrusader Feb 2013 #5
AsahinaKimi Feb 2013 #6
Tikki Feb 2013 #11
AsahinaKimi Feb 2013 #13
Tikki Feb 2013 #15
AsahinaKimi Feb 2013 #16
jaysunb Feb 2013 #20
AsahinaKimi Feb 2013 #24
NV Whino Feb 2013 #21
mimi85 Feb 2013 #23
AsahinaKimi Feb 2013 #25
dixiegrrrrl Feb 2013 #29
SCVDem Feb 2013 #7
NYC_SKP Feb 2013 #9
Journeyman Feb 2013 #18
modrepub Feb 2013 #10
Journeyman Feb 2013 #12
AnotherDreamWeaver Feb 2013 #17
cstanleytech Feb 2013 #14
Gormy Cuss Feb 2013 #19
annm4peace Feb 2013 #26
NV Whino Feb 2013 #22
brewens Feb 2013 #27
diane in sf Feb 2013 #28

Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 07:12 PM

1. Thomas White's answer to Enron's financial woes" "California."

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 07:13 PM

2. I wonder how many are dead

That they don't have to pay back. A 13 year interest free loan. Is there going to be jail time? Oh silly me how can we arrest these goons while they are saying we're sorry, here's your $10.63 credit.

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Response to Politicalboi (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 07:46 PM

8. And some lost small businesses, due to manipulated...

...energy costs. But, IMHO, this is about the principle of unfairness unleashed on California by Enron and others under the Bush/Cheney Administration.

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 07:17 PM

3. CPUC news release

http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PublishedDocs/Published/G000/M051/K374/51374130.PDF
Not copyrighted material

CPUC PLEASED WITH FERC JUDGE DECISION IN ENERGY CRISIS CASE; SELLERS FACE BILLION DOLLAR REFUND OF OVERCHARGES DURING SUMMER OF 2000

SAN FRANCISCO, February 19, 2013 - The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today said that an Administrative Law Judge at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) last Friday issued a sweeping “initial decision” finding more than a dozen electricity wholesalers guilty of market manipulation in the summer of 2000, when California suffered the highest electricity prices in history. If the Administrative Law Judge’s decision is adopted by FERC, the sellers will face a collective refund obligation in excess of a billion dollars.

“We are very grateful to the judge for his thoughtful and objective analysis that finally vindicates California’s legal claims on behalf of ratepayers,” said CPUC President Michael R. Peevey. “This case was an uphill battle for the CPUC and its allies. It took a lot of tenacity to achieve this victory before FERC, on behalf of California consumers.”

If the Administrative Law Judge’s decision is adopted by FERC, it is expected to yield nearly $1 billion in refunds, plus another $600 million in accumulated interest. Once paid, refunds would be passed on to consumers as an offset against current electric bills.
During the catastrophic summer of 2000, California suffered record-breaking high prices for electricity as well as rolling blackouts and other system emergencies. The extremely high prices in the wholesale electricity market eventually drove the state’s two largest utility companies into insolvency and forced the state to step in to purchase billions of dollars in electricity to keep the lights on in California.

In June 2001, FERC issued orders imposing a cap on the prices sellers could charge and the crisis eventually subsided. FERC also found that ratepayers were owed refunds for overcharges during the fall of 2000 - covering the period after the complaint was filed. But FERC initially denied California’s request for relief for overcharges that occurred during the summer of 2000 despite evidence that numerous sellers, led by Enron, had engaged in a variety of manipulative practices that summer to force electricity prices in the wholesale markets to record-breaking levels. The CPUC and other California parties, including the Attorney General, appealed FERC’s decision denying relief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. That Court in 2006 ordered FERC to examine evidence of overcharges during the summer of 2000.

Friday’s initial decision by a FERC Administrative Law Judge is the culmination of these additional evidentiary procedures. Following a months-long trial last year, the Administrative Law Judge found that a group of more than a dozen electricity sellers engaged in a variety of illicit market gimmicks, many of which had the effect of artificially inflating the energy prices in California’s wholesale electricity markets. The initial decision sets out a method of computing the overcharges to be refunded to consumers that, if adopted by FERC, will impose on the sellers a total refund obligation of approximately $1.6 billion including interest. The Administrative Law Judge’s initial decision is limited to sales of electricity by the wholesalers during the summer of 2000. The Administrative Law Judge also found the sellers liable for another $90 million in overcharges for certain limited sales during the fall of 2000.

The Administrative Law Judge named the sellers he found to have manipulated the markets, including by scheduling false “exports” of power from California that was then sold back “into” California at inflated prices. The manipulators include Powerex, a wholly-owned subsidiary of British Columbia-based BC Hydro; Shell Energy North America, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shell Oil; TransAlta Corporation, an energy company based in Alberta, Canada; and the Bonneville Power Administration, an arm of the U.S. Department of Energy that operates a series of major hydroelectric dams on the Columbia River.

“We’ve been saying for years that California was victimized by rampant manipulation, not just by Enron but by many other electricity sellers as well,” said CPUC Commissioner Mike Florio. “It warms my heart to see this ‘guilty’ verdict from an impartial judge, and to consider the fact that as a result we now stand to win back more than a billion dollars for consumers. This money was stolen from ratepayers in California by a bunch of sellers who conducted business like pirates.”

Still pending before FERC are several additional cases involving other sales of electricity during the Energy Crisis, after the summer period. One of those cases, concerning sales during the winter and spring of 2001, is scheduled for trial before a different FERC Administrative Law Judge in April. Overcharges that winter and spring, largely from a subset of the same group of sellers named in Friday’s initial decision, would add as much as another billion dollars to their pre-interest refund obligation, if the Administrative Law Judge in that case were to rule in California’s favor.

CPUC President Peevey said, “We have been relentless in our pursuit of economic justice for Californians who were grievously overcharged for electricity during and after the Energy Crisis of 2000-2001. We look forward to the day when all of these cases can come to a close and consumers can see the benefit of refunds of the overcharges.”

President Peevey also emphasized that more than 30 other sellers previously have reached settlements with California, before Friday’s decision. The repayments to consumers under these prior settlements have totaled more than $3 billion. President Peevey challenged the more than dozen sellers named in Friday’s decision to sign up for similar settlements.

The initial decision is available at http://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20130215-3025.

For more information on the CPUC, please visit www.cpuc.ca.gov.

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 07:28 PM

4. If there is a refund...

I am sure my landlady will get it, even though I paid for electricity. I can see that happening. Since I pay her money to pay for the electricity, she will get it all, and I will get nothing.

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Response to AsahinaKimi (Reply #4)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 07:34 PM

5. Sadly true.

They also might raise current rates to pay for some of it. Also, passed on to you.

I'm actually shocked they are trying to revisit this issue now.

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Response to AtheistCrusader (Reply #5)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 07:36 PM

6. The electric bill is in her name

So the check will go to her. As for the tenants who pay for the Electricity, we will get nothing, unless we hire a lawyer to sue. Suing for that amount, the money will go to the lawyers and again we get nothing.

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Response to AsahinaKimi (Reply #4)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 08:04 PM

11. Hi AsahinaKimi...our property has separate meters..our house on one meter and our rental...


on another meter attached to their house. Both read separately and bills in each family's name
and address...think unit A and B.

Would our renters get a refund that way...or does it go to the property tax payer?


Tikki

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Response to Tikki (Reply #11)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 08:09 PM

13. In my case...

Both myself and my neighbor pays the electric bill to her, the landlady, because the electric bill is in her name. If she was honest, we would get a part of it, but she's not honest, and is greedy. I will tell you here and now, neither myself or my neighbor will see a single penny. So that means what ever the total of the electric bill refund is, will go to her, because its her DAMN Bill. There are no separate meter. We are just screwed.

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Response to AsahinaKimi (Reply #13)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 08:20 PM

15. I am so sorry about that...please know that not all landlords are jerks.




Tikki

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Response to Tikki (Reply #15)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 08:28 PM

16. I can tell you a thing about her...

She wasn't the original owner. The property was sold to her, and because we paid rent already, she had to wait till the next month to get rent to her. The thing was, she tried to hit me up for a cleaning and safety deposit. I told her, I already paid that to the last land lord. I wasn't going to pay it again. In fact, it was on my lease, that I paid both the security deposit and the cleaning deposit, and showed it to her. She was really angry, because she thought since there was a change of ownership, she could squeeze out that from me. I told her I would refuse to pay it, because it was paid and that if she wanted that money, to talk to the previous owner to get it.

She knew she couldn't do that. I finally told her, that if she wanted to we could take it to court, and they would settle it in my favor because I already paid for it, and it was written in the hand writing of the previous owner. She never liked that much.. and she and I have had various problems in the past, the last being harassing me, which is against California state law. I had to bring in our family lawyer to tell her to back off.

There is no way I will ever see a refund from the utilities company. She will finally get the cash she wanted, and I can have no say in it, cause the electric bill is not in my name, and I have no proof that I have anything coming. She's made off like a thief in the night ..with money that should be rightfully mine. (If I went to a lawyer about it, I would have no proof.. and even if I did, he would end up with the money anyway.)

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Response to AsahinaKimi (Reply #16)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 09:25 PM

20. Actually, I don't think she is entitled to the money either

Although I'm not sure of the dates of your tennacy or her ownership, but the previous owner or the person named on the bill will collect. Remember, this theft took place more than 10 years ago.

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Response to jaysunb (Reply #20)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 11:06 PM

24. The previous owner

Never collected money for electricity with the rent. It was just this way when she took over the property. If that's the case none of us will see any refund. Some said it just might be a credit, ..that's how utilities do it.. if that's the case than the bill won't be so high..

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Response to AsahinaKimi (Reply #4)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 10:12 PM

21. I'm in the same boat.

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Response to AsahinaKimi (Reply #4)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 10:16 PM

23. It's not a refund

it will show up as a credit on the electric bill. Seriously doubt it will be much anyway. I'm not holding my breath, that's for sure.

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Response to mimi85 (Reply #23)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 11:10 PM

25. You know you may be totally right...

I could totally see PG&E doing that. Maybe spread it out over a few months with slightly lower power rates, then suddenly when that is over jacking up the price to make up for what they lost.

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Response to AsahinaKimi (Reply #4)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 01:23 PM

29. and since I moved out of state in 2005....

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 07:44 PM

7. Cheney had the country convinced

that California was wasting energy and deserved to pay more.

Pure bullshit!

I want that bastard in jail! His energy meeting was the start of this crime!

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 07:50 PM

9. Surely, many will go to prison over this Grand Theft!



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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #9)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 09:03 PM

18. Almost as many as will be horsewhipped in some dusty Western town, the flesh cut from their bones...

Unfortunately, dreaming a fantasy that someone will be convicted, sent to prison for a smidgen of years (what's 5 to 10 when the payoff is billions?), and that a few meaningless fines will be levied seems satisfying and "civilized". But since every indication assures us that will never happen, permit me a more gratifying daydream, one where the imagined punishment fits the inexcusable crime.

After all, it's only make believe. Much like the concept of justice and punishment for the wealthy and connected.

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 08:01 PM

10. Someone wake me up

if anyone actually gets a refund check.

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 08:09 PM

12. I wonder how much my friend, who lost his grocery store in part because of high energy costs. . .

I wonder how much he'll receive? And I wonder if he'll care, thinking back on how many dreams were dashed, how many jobs lost because of those heartless criminals.

And more to the immediate point, how much money will those who lost their lives because they couldn't afford power for their medical devices, or air conditioning during the worst of the economic-rape, how much money will they receive?

They should have dragged the Enron Energy Pirates into the dusty streets of Laredo and horsewhipped the flesh from their bones. Had we done that, I suspect we wouldn't have had the Banking Bubble and the related financial disasters of the past few years.

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Response to Journeyman (Reply #12)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 08:58 PM

17. Word I heard was that the Enron investigation was going on in WTC#7

and when it blew up so did the investigation. The investigation of missing money in the military budget was going on where the "plane" crashed into the Pentagon. Just some "convenient circumstance" for a few folks.

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 08:13 PM

14. BS settlement. Should atleast be x5 the profits the companies made. nt

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 09:14 PM

19. We should get treble damages for getting Schwarzenegger as governor thanks to that manipulation n/t

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Response to Gormy Cuss (Reply #19)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 11:16 PM

26. Schwarzenegger was part of setting up the manipulation

He was the celebraty that was the headliner or attraction for the law makers to learn about deregulation.
This was in a documentary but I can' remember the name of it now.
In the Central Valley so many suffered.

absooooolutely unbelieveable. I hope the CA customers get their refunds.. so sad some people didn't survive the crisis due to heat stroke and etc.. and some small businesses either. Small grocery stores, packing sheds, beauty shops and etc couldn' t survive the high costs and loss from the "brown and black" outs. I remember there was a teacher who walked from a small central CA town to Sacramento to bring attention to the children in poor families suffering from the weeks of heat. Did a family turn on the airconditioning in 115 degree heat or did they buy food? ugggg.. I think I still have PTSD from that time.

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 10:15 PM

22. I would gladly forfeit any possible refund to see those bastards behind bars.

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 11:17 PM

27. I think we got screwed by that in Idaho too. I remember we were asked to try and limit running air

conditioning during the summer because out power companies were trying to divert power to California because of the "crisis". Of course you can imagine some of the reaction from assholes up here over that! I'd be willing to bet some of them intentionally ramped up their use out of spite. It was no big deal to me. To this day I get by with little a/c in the summer.

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Response to Newsjock (Original post)

Wed Feb 20, 2013, 03:46 AM

28. Enron and friends actually stole over $9B and Arnie dismissed the lawsuit against

Them when he became governator.

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