Group Investigating California Energy Crisis To File Evidence Supporting More Than $7.5 Billion In Consumer Refunds

March 03, 2003

March 3, 2003

ROSEMEAD, Calif., March 3, 2003 - Southern California Edison (SCE) and four prominent California entities will submit to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today the results of over three months of investigation into why the state's wholesale power costs skyrocketed during the recent energy crisis.  The filing will argue that evidence has been discovered supporting consumer refunds totaling more than $7.5 billion, in contrast to the $1.8 billion refund order currently under consideration by FERC.

"We have uncovered substantial new evidence of pervasive violation of market rules by many of the major merchant sellers in California's wholesale power markets," said SCE Chairman John Bryson.  "We will continue to press FERC to order that the billions of dollars of overcharges resulting from these practices must be returned to California utility customers."

The filing will cite evidence of widespread market manipulation by merchant generators and marketers including withholding available power at times when additional supplies were needed, thereby artificially driving up prices, and illegally gaming various power markets.   The filing also includes evidence of energy traders partnering with California municipal utilities in order to accomplish their gaming tactics.

"Presently, a protective order requires us to keep the newly-discovered evidence confidential.   If FERC decides to lift the protective order, we will be able to present the clearest picture yet of why the California energy crisis occurred," said Bryson.

The "California Parties" who conducted the 100 days of discovery included SCE, Pacific Gas & Electric, the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Electricity Oversight Board, and the California Attorney General.

# # #

An Edison International company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation's largest electric utilities, serving a population of more than 12 million via 4.5 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within central, coastal and Southern California.  For more information on the California electricity market, see www.sce.com.