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If upheld, FERC judge's decision on California energy crisis may mean refunds of up to $1.6 billion, CPUC says

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In a Feb. 15 initial decision on the California energy crisis of 2000-2001, a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission administrative law judge ruled that certain power suppliers violated tariffs from May 1-Oct. 1, 2000. If adopted by commissioners, the ruling by Administrative Law Judge Philip Baten "is expected to yield nearly $1 billion in refunds, plus another $600 million in accumulated interest," the California Public Utilities Commission said. However, the commission also will hear arguments to justify reduction of refunds, the judge indicated.

The judge found that "of the approximately 34,020 violations which were evaluated for price effects, more than 20,000 are found to have affected the market clearing price."

While Judge Baten did not calculate refunds for tariff violations, he did recommend refunds totaling $91 million for forward transactions and energy exchange transactions. That amount includes recommendations that the Bonneville Power Administration refund approximately $60 million and the Western Area Power Administration $621,377. —ROBERT VARELA


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