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PR Web.com: El Paso Settlement Payment Two Years Late, Shell-Chevron Cause Delay: Friday 23 December 2005 

 

10 of the rejected claims were filed by the energy companies identified as Chevron and Shell and various subsidiaries. The administrator reported that Shell and Chevron actually made money during the crisis, if all of their business entities are considered together.

 

The last group of participants in the 2 year old El Paso Settlement finally received a portion of their money today. Two large energy companies, Shell and Chevron, also tried to collect money but were denied. Final distribution will be delayed pending resolution of energy company claims.

 

NEWPORT BEACH, CA (PRWEB) December 23, 2005 -- The last participants to be paid from the El Paso Energy Settlement finally received a partial payment today; nearly two years after the deal was approved in the San Diego Superior Court. Large industrial and commercial users of natural gas in California, the Non-Core class, will have to wait a little longer for the rest of their money while two large energy companies protest the denial of their claims.

 

The El Paso Settlement was a $1.8 billion deal reached in June 2003 between El Paso and attorneys representing several classes of energy consumers in an Anti-Trust conspiracy lawsuit against El Paso and Sempra (Natural Gas Anti-Trust Cases I, II, III, IV (JCCP)). In a statement issued last week, the law firm of Baker, Burton and Lundy, plaintiff attorneys, reported that Non-Core users are the last to be paid, while rate payers and other members of the settlement have already received hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits. According to the statement, the original lawsuit is still ongoing, "Baker, Burton and Lundy and its team is currently prosecuting its multi-billion dollar case against co-conspirator Sempra in a five month trial in San Diego."

 

Non-core users were the only class that had to prove their damages related to the energy crisis of 2000 2001. In documents filed with the court, the settlement administrator stated that over 3,100 companies were sent claim forms, but only 654 claims were received. Of that number, less than 70% were ultimately approved for payment. 10 of the rejected claims were filed by the energy companies identified as Chevron and Shell and various subsidiaries.

 

The administrator reported that Shell and Chevron actually made money during the crisis, if all of their business entities are considered together. "Chevron and Shell and the various partnerships do not want to be required to account for Chevron and Shell's natural gas sales and hedging as would be required if they file a single claim...Shell and Chevron's gains arise in part from their sale of natural gas to the other Claimants in this case," stated Gene Kennedy, Account Executive for Poorman-Douglas Corporation of Portland, Oregon, the settlement administrator. The court decided to pay all approved claims, but retain 26% of the total $140 million available until the Chevron/Shell rejected claims are finalized.

 

The timing of the distribution of funds is ironic considering the current cost of natural gas. Charles R. Toca of Utility Savings & Refund, LLC, in Newport Beach, CA, stated that natural gas is approaching the record high prices that caused such economic grief five years ago: "Our companies appreciate receiving these funds in time for their winter bills, even though it has been a long time coming." Utility Savings & Refund represents over 12% of the companies with approved claims, and they also procure natural gas and electricity for their customers. 

 

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