CPUC approves allocation of refunds to natural gas customers

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has approved allocation of approximately $113m to

This arises from settlements approved by the San Diego Superior Court to address scarcity in the natural gas market in 2000-2001 and manipulation of the published price of natural gas from 1999-2002.

Settlement funds will be distributed to the customers of the utilities including: Pacific Gas and Electric (46.7%), Southern California Gas (31.49%), San Diego Gas and Electric (14.42%), Long Beach Gas and Oil Department (4.07%), and South West Gas (3.32%).

Proceeds will be returned to the respective utility's customers through a one-time credit to the procurement rates for each utility.

Timothy Simon, commissioner of CPUC, said: "The settlements were a great win for natural gas customers. Our action today guarantees that customers impacted by inappropriate actions during the energy crisis will finally receive some form of compensation for their distress."

The proceeds are a result of settlements in two groups of cases. One group of cases relate to civil suits filed in 2000 alleging that major pipeline companies conspired to create a scarcity in the natural gas delivery market, which contributed to the energy crisis of 2000-2001. The other group of cases relate to a set of civil cases filed in 2003, which alleged that traders of natural gas manipulated the published price of natural gas in the California market from 1999 to 2002.