With state officials squeezing the legal triggers on Enron out West last week, California’s two U.S. Senators applied political pressure in Washington, DC, in an effort to further dramatize the state’s long-standing claims for up to $9 billion in wholesale power cost refunds.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) last Thursday reiterated her demands on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, writing Chairman Patrick Wood seeking to get the federal regulators to revoke Enron Corp.’s trading license retroactively going back to the beginning of the western wholesale energy market meltdown in 2000 and to require refunds that cover those periods, too.

Earlier last week, California’s junior U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer formally asked President George Bush to push FERC to authorize multi-billion-dollar refunds to her state’s electricity consumers from the alleged wholesale power market manipulations by Enron and others in 2000-2001.

Meanwhile, FERC Chairman Pat Wood disclosed to reporters on Thursday that he met with Boxer on Wednesday, when the two discussed a wide range of issues related to California’s power market.

The two-term senator, who is in the midst of a re-election campaign, told news media in Washington, DC, that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission should “change its public policy,” which she characterized as focused on “fighting California consumers every step of the way.”

Boxer focused on the latest Enron Corp. recordings and financial statements released by the Snohomish (WA) County Public Utility District that support the market manipulation allegations. Boxer and other California officials contend that the latest documents show that Enron alone allegedly overcharged western U.S. consumers by $1.1 billion in the 18 months between January 2000 and mid-2001.

Boxer’s appeal to Bush asked him to seek the resignation of any FERC commissioner who opposes the $8.9 billion refund claim by her state.

Following FERC’s regular agenda meeting on Thursday, Wood told reporters that he met with Boxer for approximately an hour on Wednesday.

“I think it was a frank and candid discussion,” Wood said in describing their meeting. Boxer “took the time to understand what it was we were doing and how the refund case was working, and how the contract cases were dealt with.”

Wood reminded Boxer that “there were 22 contracts that came in the door and when we finally decided not to abrogate them, there were only four that were left that had not been renegotiated by the state.”

He also told Boxer that with respect to the refund case, “we expected to get the final numbers from the California ISO and PX by December 2004 and expected to wrap that up shortly thereafter.”

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