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Circuit Opens Door To $1.3 Billion In California Energy Refunds

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - A Ninth Circuit ruling on energy refunds could return $1.3 billion to California ratepayers who were gouged in the Pacific Northwest during the 2000-2001 energy crisis.

The circuit ordered the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reconsider its refusal to grant refunds to wholesale electricity buyers that bought energy at unusually high prices in the Pacific Northwest for consumption in California. FERC claimed buyers were not entitled to refunds from energy consumed in California. The circuit said FERC's exclusion of California energy was "arbitrary, capricious and an abuse of discretion," and remanded with instructions to reconsider evidence of market manipulation. California Attorney General Jerry Brown called the decision a major victory for California ratepayers and urged FERC to "promptly refund the more than $1 billion that was stolen from the people of

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