Attorney General distributes Enron settlement money this week
SEATTLE – It’s payback time for Enron, Attorney General Rob McKenna announced today. The Attorney General’s Office sent more than $9 million this week to programs that will benefit utility customers who were gouged by the manufactured energy crisis of 2000-2001.
“How fitting that Enron will pay to provide warmth to low-income families and to help Washington residents make their homes more energy-efficient,” McKenna said. “These programs are especially needed in today’s economy and will benefit those least able to bear the burden of higher power bills.”
Enron reportedly made nearly $2 billion in profits from its electricity trading operations in the Western states during 2000 and 2001. Attorneys general from several Westerns states investigated whether Enron traders manipulated the energy market. They uncovered schemes dubbed with such colorful names as “Death Star,” “Fat Boy,” “Get Shorty,” “Ricochet,” and “Load Shift.”
The states of Washington, California and Oregon, as well as some California utilities and other organizations, settled with Enron for $1.52 billion in summer 2005.
“Although our settlement with Enron called for significant consumer restitution, we expected to receive only pennies on the dollar due to the company’s bankruptcy,” McKenna said. “In the end, we were able to recover nearly half of the $22.5 million we were owed under the settlement. That’s more than anyone expected.”
Nearly $6 million in checks was sent to utilities in Washington. Rather than distribute small refunds to individuals, the money will be used to help reduce heating expenses for low-income households and support weatherization programs that improve heating efficiency. Allocations were made based on the number of customers served by each utility.
Businesses will also benefit from the settlement. A little more than $1.6 million will help fund a Battelle program that teaches commercial building owners how to make their structures more energy-efficient.
More than $1.2 million was sent to the Washington State University Extension Energy Program. Experts there conduct energy audits and teach businesses how to become more energy-efficient. Industrial customers benefit from that assistance.
Battelle and WSU were chosen as grant recipients by a blue-ribbon committee comprised of stakeholders and legislators.
To date, the Attorney General’s Office has distributed nearly $45 million from its settlements with Duke Energy, El Paso, Reliant, Williams and, now, Enron.
McKenna thanks the Attorney General’s Antitrust Division for it role in reaching the settlements and distributing funds.
The following utilities and programs will receive money from the Enron settlement:
Alder Mutual Light Co., Inc.
Benton PUD (pending)
Benton Rural Electric Association
Big Bend Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Blaine City Light
Centralia City Light
Chelan County PUD #1
Cheney, City of
Chewelah, City of
Clallam County PUD #1 (pending)
Clark Public Utilities
Clearwater Power Company
Columbia Rural Electric
Cowlitz County PUD #1
Douglas County PUD #1
Eatonville, Town of
Ellensburg – Energy Services
Elmhurst Mutual Power & Light Company
Ferry County PUD #1
Franklin County PUD #1
Grant County PUD #1
Grays Harbor County PUD #1
Inland Power & Light
Kittitas County PUD #1
Lakeview Light & Power
Lewis County PUD #1
Mason County PUD #1
Mason County PUD #3
McCleary, City of
Milton, City of
Modern Electric Water Company
Nespelem Valley Electric Cooperative, Inc.
Ohop Mutual Light Company
Okanogan County Electric Cooperative
Okanogan County PUD #1
Orcas Power & Light Cooperative
Pacific County PUD #2
PacifiCorp, d.b.a. Pacific Power
Parkland Light & Water Co.
Pend Oreille County PUD #1
Peninsula Light Company
Port Angeles, City of (pending)
Puget Sound Energy, Inc.
Richland – Energy Services
Rushton, Town of
Seattle City Light
Snohomish County PUD # 1
Steilacoom, Town of
Sumas Water & Lights Department
Tacoma Public Utilities, Tacoma Power
Tanner Electric Coop
Vera Water & Power
Wahkiakum County PUD #1
Total for Utilities
WSU Extension Energy Program
Media Contact: Kristin Alexander, Media Relations Manager – Seattle, (206) 464-6432