San Diego Consumer Group, Four Law Firms File Class Action for Electric Rate Refunds
Joining in the feeding frenzy that has become California's
electricity rate debate, a San Diego-based utility consumer group
and four law firms last week filed (Nov. 29) in Superior Court in
San Diego a class action lawsuit against 13 major generators,
marketers and energy trading companies, the veritable "who's who"
of the state's electricity market.
Calling itself an anti-trust legal consortium, the consumer
group and legal firms on behalf of the electric customers of San
Diego Gas and Electric Co. are seeking at least $1 billion in what
it calls "overpayments" to the utility caused by "deliberate
manipulation of prices in California's electricity market" by the
"This is a consumer class action suit designed to get our money
back," said Michael Shames, a lawyer and head of the San
Diego-based Utility Consumer Action Network, which has been
appearing at state regulatory and legislative sessions for two
decades as one of the state's most active utility watchdog groups.
"The defendants "unlawfully manipulated the market by fixing prices
and restricting supply into the markets operated by the California
Power Exchange (Cal-PX) and the California Independent System
The 13 companies named are: Dynegy Power Marketing, Inc.; Enron
Energy Services; Enron Power Marketing, Inc.; PG&E Energy
Trading; Reliant Energy Services, Inc.; Sempra Energy Trading;
Sempra Energy Resources: Southern Company Energy Marketing;
Williams Energy Marketing and Trading; Williams Energy Services
Company; Duke Energy Trading and Marketing LLC; NRG Energy; and
Morgan Stanley Capital Group, Inc.
Spokespeople for Enron and a number of other companies echoed
the same response that the suit is without merit and separate state
and federal investigations have not found any evidence the market
Richard Nemec, Los Angeles
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