Bankrupt energy company Enron Corp. has agreed to pay $47.5 million in cash to resolve claims that it gouged California and other western states during the 2000-2001 energy crisis.
The settlement will end claims of market manipulation and price gouging against the once high-flying Houston-based company, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer said Friday. The agreement requires approval by the bankruptcy court and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Enron also will provide California with an unsecured claim for $875 million in the energy company's bankruptcy proceedings. Oregon and Washington would be entitled to $22.5 million each from that unsecured settlement.
The settlement also calls for the company to pay a $600 million penalty to the three states.
All the payments except for the cash settlement represent unsecured claims. The final payment amounts will depend on what is left after Enron's secured creditors are paid as part of the bankruptcy proceedings.
The settlement helps Enron move forward to resolve its bankruptcy "so that we can accelerate distributions to all other creditors," Enron's interim chief executive, Stephen F. Cooper, said in a written statement.
About $65 billion in claims are awaiting settlement in Enron's bankruptcy case, company officials said.
California has been negotiating settlements with many of the energy companies through FERC. The Enron deal announced Friday is the second-largest of the state's energy settlements, behind a deal valued at more than $1.6 billion with Houston-based El Paso Corp.
FERC Chairman Joseph T. Kelliher said the California settlement brings to nearly $6 billion the amount of refunds related to the energy crisis negotiated through the commission.