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Sellers object to Pacific Northwest refund hearings

Wholesale power suppliers are objecting to hearings that started...

Wholesale power suppliers are objecting to hearings that started this morning to determine whether refunds are due to Pacific Northwest utilities for power sold since December. In a complaint submitted Tuesday afternoon to the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, a coalition of suppliers, including Enron, claimed the hearing as ordered by FERC July 25 provides little time for discovery and is a denial of due process.
"In short, the process established by the commission is arbitrary and capricious," the suppliers wrote. "The harm to the [wholesale suppliers] from this denial of due process is manifest and substantial. The [wholesale suppliers] object to this process and hearing continuing under these unreasonable procedures and schedule."

FERC ordered the hearing after unsuccessfully trying to settle refund claims for all sales in the West earlier this summer. In its July 25 order, the commission ordered trial-type hearings to determine a specific refund amount due California, and required separate hearings to consider whether prices in the Northwest were unjust and unreasonable. Administrative Law Judge Carmen Cintron is required to issue a recommendation and report to the commission by Sep 24.