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Calif., Canadian utility reach $750M settlement

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 16, 2013 at 1:36 pm •  Published: August 16, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A Canadian utility has agreed to a $750 million refund as part of a settlement for overcharging California ratepayers during the state's energy crisis more than a decade ago, Attorney General Kamala Harris and the Public Utilities Commission announced Friday.

Harris and the PUC say the deal with Powerex is the largest out-of-court settlement with electricity sellers to date. State officials accused the British Columbia-owned hydroelectric utility of market gaming by purchasing electricity from California, shipping it to Canada, and then selling it back to California at exorbitant prices between 2000 and 2001.

"Californians suffered through huge rate hikes and blackouts during the energy crisis," Harris said in a statement. "This settlement brings long-awaited compensation to California ratepayers for Powerex's conduct."

State officials say with the pending settlement with Powerex, California will have collected about $4 billion in refunds from electricity sellers during and after the energy crisis.

About 47 electricity sellers have since settled separately with the state of California, Powerex said in a statement released Friday.

California state officials say other claims with other sellers are pending.

"I hope the remaining sellers who have not yet agreed to settle our refund claims will wake up and take notice of this major settlement by Powerex," CPUC Commissioner Mike Florio said in a statement Friday. "I encourage them to follow suit and reach their own settlements with us."

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