State receives $3.5 million energy crisis settlement

Attorney General Rob McKenna today announced that Washington will receive $3.5 million as part of a multi-state settlement with Reliant...

Attorney General Rob McKenna today announced that Washington will receive $3.5 million as part of a multi-state settlement with Reliant Energy Services. The settlement resolves claims that Reliant gouged ratepayers, withheld power and manipulated market prices during the 2000-2001 Energy Crisis.
“Reliant is one of five Texas energy companies that inflated electricity prices and swindled Washington consumers and businesses during the energy crisis,” McKenna said. “Today’s settlement brings the state’s total recovery to more than $37 million from these companies.”

McKenna said the Attorney General’s Office is considering how to best use the settlement funds to the greatest benefit of those harmed by the energy crisis in Washington.

Under the settlement, Houston-based Reliant will pay a total of $460 million to the states of Washington, California, and Oregon. The agreement must be approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) before it becomes final.

The states’ settlement comes on top of earlier agreements reached between Reliant and FERC totaling nearly $65 million. All told, Reliant will pay nearly $525 million to resolve claims arising from its conduct during the Energy Crisis.

Reliant also faces certain criminal charges arising from its conduct. This settlement does not resolve those allegations, which were brought by the U.S. Attorney General and federal agencies.

The Washington State Attorney General’s Office previously settled with four other companies for their roles in the 2000-2001 energy crisis: El Paso Corporation ($15 million), Williams Companies, Inc. and the Williams Energy Marketing and Trading Company ($15 million), Duke Energy Company ($3.25 million), and Enron ($22 million allowed claim; the amount that Enron will actually pay will be determined later by the judge in the Enron bankruptcy case).

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