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Ninth Circuit directs FERC to consider more claims from California power crunch

[JURIST] A federal appeals court Wednesday ordered the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) [official website] to consider refund petitions filed by California state agencies and California businesses that claim refunds arising from the California energy crisis of 2000-2001 [PBS backgrounder] before the October 2, 2000 date set by the FERC. The refunds compensate the state for alleged energy price-fixing schemes, and involve several claims against subsidies of the now-bankrupt Enron [JURIST news archive] as well as other energy companies. October 2, 2000 was the date that the FERC notified energy providers that they could be liable for refunds, but in the opinion [PDF text; summary, PDF], a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ordered the FERC to consider refund petitions dealing with potentially fraudulent price-fixing that may have occurred before the October 2, 2000 notice.

California is seeking $8 to $10 billion in refunds from energy companies, and as much as $2.8 billion of the total requested refund amount relates to activities occurring before October 2, 2000. The energy crisis resulted in the bankruptcy of California's largest utility company, and the FERC has ordered companies to pay $3 billion back to California to date. AP has more.

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