Friday, September 09, 2016
SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — Shell and others came a step closer Thursday to reimbursing Californians $200 million for overcharges during the 2000 electricity crisis, when the Ninth Circuit rejected their challenge.
Upholding a 2013 finding by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the appeals court cited “substantial evidence” that the power companies inflated electric rates by violating the FERC’s export tariff rules.
Power companies repeatedly got around regulators during the crisis, through bags of tricks, including “kilowatt washing”: claiming to buy electricity in California at regulated rates, then shipping it out of state, and repurchasing it at unregulated, emergency prices. Since electricity is simply a directed flow of electrons, and electrons cannot be traced, there was no way to prove whether the companies were doing that or not.