California’s bankrupt Mirant Corp has settled claims with the state government stemming from its alleged manipulation of the power market during the energy crisis of 2000 and 2001. State officials have suggested that Mirant overcharged California by some $753 million during the power crisis as its earnings soared. While Mirant will not admit liability and will not pay any compensation to the state, it will relinquish its claim for the $320 million it claims to be owned by state power providers such as PG&E Corp, Southern California Edison Co, and San Diego Gas & Electric Co. Mirant will also give PG&E a 530 MW plant in Antioch that is around 40% complete and the option to buy two further plants. PG&E said it would receive as much as $300 million through a cash payment and the plant transfer. Southern California Edison, said it will receive settlement worth about $101 million and San Diego Gas & Electric, said it would receive $24 million.

As part of Mirant’s bankruptcy proceedings, California and other parties will make a further claim of $175 million against the company, bringing the total settlement to around $750 million.

In another long-running legal case, a $24 billion class action lawsuit against Sempra Energy and two of its subsidiaries is to go ahead following an appeals court ruling in California. The case rests of allegations of gas price manipulation by Sempra in the run up to the energy crises of 2000 – 2001 with the sharp increase in southern California gas prices in late 2000. As a result of the appeals court ruling, Sempra is expected to face a jury trial next June on charges of conspiracy and market manipulation.