FERC ALJ Sees Issuing CA Refund Findings in Nov.

Bruce Birchman, the FERC administrative law judge (ALJ) overseeing proceedings related to possible refunds for electricity overcharges in California, recently issued a trial schedule under which Birchman plans to certify proposed findings of fact in early November.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission tasked Birchman with the proceedings in an order issued last month. In that decision, the Commission established evidentiary hearing procedures related to the collection of data needed to determine the refund amounts due to California for electricity overcharges. On a related track, the Commission established a separate, preliminary evidentiary proceeding on the issue of refunds in the Pacific Northwest.

Birchman last week issued a trial schedule for the California refund proceeding. Under the schedule, this month and next will involve such things as the collection of data from the California Independent System Operator (Cal-ISO) and the opportunity for participants to respond to testimony.

The Cal-ISO recently told Birchman that it needs additional time to allocate refunds to purchasers of power in the state's wholesale energy markets. If all goes according to schedule, the ISO expects to be able to complete the process by early September.

Under Birchman's schedule, he expects the hearing phase of the trial to begin on Oct. 10 and end on Oct. 16. Initial briefs in the form of proposed findings of fact and underlying evidentiary support and justification are slated for Oct. 19. Reply briefs are due on Oct. 22.

Birchman has set Nov. 5 as the date on which he plans to certify proposed findings of fact and record in the case.

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