FERC Poised to Rule on ALJ's CA Refund Report

FERC is scheduled this week to rule on recommendations recently forwarded to the Commission by Chief Administrative Law Judge Curtis L. Wagner after two weeks of settlement talks related to California's bid to collect $8.9 billion in refunds failed to produce a final deal between the state and generators.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has placed consideration of Wagner's recommendations (see NGI, July 16) on the agenda for its next bi-weekly meeting, which takes place this Wednesday.

In his report and recommendations given to FERC earlier this month, Wagner said that California's persistent claim that it's owed $8.9 billion on electricity overcharges for the May 2000-May 2001 period "has not and cannot be substantiated." The amount of refunds due the state is in the "hundreds of millions of dollars, probably more than a billion dollars in an aggregate sum," he said, but at the same time there are "even larger amounts owed to energy sellers" by the California Independent System Operator (Cal-ISO) for unpaid power purchases.

FERC spokeswoman Barbara Connors detailed the options available to the Commission in the event that it rules on Wagner's recommendations this week. "They could go along with what Judge Wagner recommended ... he had proposed a certain methodology and suggested there be a hearing." FERC could agree with those proposals, "or they could modify that in some way or make a determination other than that," Connors told NGI.

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