Oregon Department of Justice

Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum

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AG Announces $8 Million In Restitution To Be Distributed To OR Utility Companies And Industrial Customers As Part Of Williams Settlement

April 5, 2004

Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced the distribution of over $8 million in restitution to Oregon utility companies and industrial customers for losses during the electricity price spikes of 2000 and 2001. The restitution is part of a three-year, $15 million settlement with the Williams Companies, which was announced last year. The $8 million repayment reflects the maximum harm imposed on Oregon residential and commercial electricity consumers related to the practices of the Williams Companies.

"These refunds are a small but important measure of justice for Oregon ratepayers based on the harm they incurred as a result of the unprecedented and unwarranted increase in energy costs," said Myers.

Upon announcing the settlement, Myers asked the Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) to determine the distribution of the funds on a pro rata basis based on each consumer's exposure to the volatility of the western wholesale electricity market. Following a public hearing and public comment period, the Attorney General adopted the PUC distribution plan. The plan, which is attached in its entirety, sends nearly 60% of the restitution dollars to Portland General Electric. The remaining funds are distributed among other utility companies and industrial customers.

Under the terms of the distribution, investor-owned utilities (IOUs), such as Portland General Electric, PacifiCorp and IdaCorp, are required to place a one-time credit on consumers' monthly bills, adjusted to reflect each customer's usage. Public utilities (municipals, public utility districts and cooperatives) are not required to provide direct credits to consumers; however, they must use the refund for the benefit of the utilities' members.

Customers of IOUs should expect to see refunds on their utility bills, perhaps as early as May or June. The average customer will receive a refund of $6 - $10. Customers of public utilities should contact their individual electricity supplier for details as to the allocation of the distribution.

The 2003 settlement is the result of a coordinated investigation into allegations of price manipulation and antitrust violations in the Western power market initiated in January 2001 by the attorneys general of Oregon, California and Washington. The Oregon Department of Justice is continuing to pursue unethical and likely unlawful market practices by various market participants, including purposefully congesting transmission lines, "wash" sales and other schemes designed to drive up the prices of wholesale electricity between 2000 and 2001.

The Williams Company Settlement Restition

Name

Amount

% of Total

Total to Distribute

PacifiCorp

1,752,245.00

21.75%

1,754,689.29

Portland General Electric

4,629,553.00

57.46%

4,636,010.98

IdaCorp, Inc.

179,459.00

2.23%

179,709.34

Eugene Water and Electric Board

72,032.00

0.89%

72,132.48

Clatskanie People's Utility District

151,429.00

1.88%

151,640.24

Columbia River People's Utility District

123,434.00

1.53%

123,606.18

Tillamook People's Utility District

141,505.00

1.76%

141,702.39

McMinnville Water and Power

106,864.00

1.33%

107,013.07

Northern Wasco Co. People's Utility District

107,109.00

1.33%

107,258.41

Springfield Utility Board

25,553.00

0.32%

25,588.65

PNGC Power

146,614.00

1.82%

146,818.52

Wah Chang

282,966.00

3.51%

283,360.72

Blue Heron Paper Company

44,226.00

0.55%

44,287.69

Boise Cascade

243,454.00

3.02%

243,793.61

SP Newsprint

8,223.00

0.10%

8,234.47

Wacker

5,326.00

0.07%

5,333.43

Fred Meyer

35,031.00

0.43%

35,079.87

Freightliner

2,622.00

0.03%

2,626.66

    

Totals

8,057,646.00

100.00%

 

Contact:

Kevin Neely, Justice, (503) 378-6002
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