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IN BRIEF / ENERGY

Sempra May Take Charge of $17 Million

November 18, 2004|From a Times Staff Writer

Sempra Energy would take a $17-million after-tax charge if it is ordered to refund more than $29 million to ratepayers, the San Diego-based company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

An administrative law judge of the California Public Utilities Commission said an investigation found that Southern California Gas Co., a Sempra utility unit, manipulated the natural gas market during the 2000-01 energy crisis.

The judge's proposed decision, which faces a PUC vote, would require the utility to refund some of the money it received from a commission- authorized incentive program, which split profit between shareholders and ratepayers when the utility bought gas at below-market prices.

Sempra denied wrongdoing.

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