SACRAMENTO — California electricity ratepayers could get rebates of as much as $1.6 billion from more than a dozen power wholesalers that allegedly manipulated the market during the energy crisis of 2000, the state Public Utilities Commission announced.
The commission in a statement released late Tuesday praised an "initial decision" issued Friday by a federal administrative law judge who ruled in favor of the state in a complaint filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The judge's ruling, which still must be endorsed by the full federal commission, found the power wholesalers guilty of overcharging California utilities and limiting electricity supplies in the summer of 2000. That resulted in high prices and rolling brownouts and blackouts throughout the state that drove one utility, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., into bankruptcy.
The alleged manipulators, the PUC said, citing the judge's ruling, included Powerex, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian firm BC Hydro; Shell Energy North America, a subsidiary of Shell Oil Co.; TransAlta Corp. of Alberta, Canada; and the Bonneville Power Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Energy.