OLYMPIA -- Washington will receive $3.25 million as part of a multi-state settlement with Duke Energy, according to Attorney General Christine Gregoire.
"This resolves claims that Duke overcharged for wholesale electricity during the 2000-01 energy crisis," Gregoire said.
Duke was one of several companies the attorneys general of Washington, Oregon and California investigated regarding claims of market manipulation and overcharges. During the 2000-2001 energy crisis electricity rates skyrocketed for Washington consumers.
The states' investigation accused Duke of creating false outages at its power plants during the crisis, thereby artificially inflating energy prices. Duke bought and sold power into the Washington energy markets during this period.
The investigation has also led to settlements with two other companies, Williams Energy Marketing and Trading Co., which agreed to pay Washington $15 million over three years and El Paso Corp., which agreed to pay $21.3 million. The proceeds from today's settlement will be combined with the proceeds from the earlier settlements and distributed to consumers and businesses harmed during the energy crisis.
A blue ribbon committee comprised of business, industry and legislative leaders is deciding how the business restitution funds will be spent, and the Washington Consumer Energy Fund was established at The Seattle Foundation to distribute the consumer portion of the settlement. Final decisions on the distribution of money from both funds are expected by late summer 2004.