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The city of San Diego stands to regain millions of dollars if the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission finds that energy wholesalers such as Enron owe more refunds to its customers in light of the market manipulation that caused the 2000-2001 California energy crisis, City Attorney Mike Aguirre said today.

Individual ratepayers such as local residents and businesses could also be rewarded, he said.

In a ruling the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued yesterday, FERC has the authority to hold hearings to determine if refunds from energy transactions that were made before October 2000 should be doled out to service providers such as San Diego Gas & Electric. The city of San Diego is the second largest customer of SDG&E power behind the U.S. Navy, Deputy City Attorney Fritz Ortlieb said.

If FERC finds that the wholesalers do owe more money, the Public Utilities Commission would then be responsible for determining how the refunds are distributed, Aguirre said.

EVAN McLAUGHLIN

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