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News Release
Questions and Answers Regarding the Williams Settlement
April 2, 2003 (2003 - 008)
Contacts:  Roy Hemmingway, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Joan H. Smith, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Lee Beyer, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bob Valdez, Public Information Officer, 503 378-8962
What is the settlement?
The settlement, which pays Oregon $15 million over three years, is a result of the Attorney General’s investigation of Williams’ actions during the 2000-01 West Coast energy crisis.
Where may I obtain information regarding the settlement and the use of the $15 million?
Review the Department of Justice press release at:
http://www.doj.state.or.us/releases/pages/2003/rel031303.aspx (Link updated)
What portion of the settlement will be returned directly to Oregon energy consumers?
The Department of Justice will distribute $8 million in refunds to energy consumers in Oregon on a pro rata basis based on each consumer’s exposure to the volatility of the western wholesale electricity market. The Department’s investigators determined that ratepayer losses attributable to this case are between $4 million and $8 million. Consequently, the $8 million repayment reflects the maximum harm endured by Oregon residential and commercial consumers related to this case.
How will the settlement be distributed?
For the purpose of distributing the $8 million, the PUC is in the process of collecting and analyzing the data necessary to establish the wholesale market exposure of each Oregon utility. As determined by the PUC’s calculations, a portion of the funds will be disseminated to the investor owned utilities (PGE, PacifiCorp and Idaho Power) on the condition that they place a one-time credit on consumers’ monthly bills, adjusted to reflect each customer’s usage. A similar allotment will go to consumer-owned utilities (municipals, public utility districts and cooperatives) with the direction to use the refund for the benefit of the utilities’ members.
When will the settlement be distributed?
The PUC is working expeditiously to complete the analysis and ensure timely distribution of the refunds to consumers. Currently, no specific dates have been set for the distributions. The $8 million is earning interest during this interim period. The interest will also be distributed to consumers.
Who may I contact at the PUC for further information?
If you have questions regarding the process used to allocate the settlement amount to Oregon utilities, contact Stefan Brown, Senior Economist, at (503) 373-7946. If you have questions regarding the method that will be used to return the PGE, PacifiCorp, and Idaho Power refund amounts to consumers, contact Jack Breen III, Program Manager – Electric Rates and Planning, at (503) 378-5942.