Dynegy?s and NRG Energy?s West Coast Power collaboration agreed to pay state entities $281 million over alleged price gouging during the energy crisis. This is the second major settlement that requires the California Public Utilities Commission to allocate settlement funds in order for the money to find its way into ratepayers? pockets. However, there appears to be no legal requirement that the CPUC be engaged, or that only parties with a ?claim? on the funds should receive settlement monies. ?As far as refund cases, we hope the Dynegy case serves as a template,? said Tom Dresslar, California attorney general spokesperson. Settlements have so far been on a case-by-case basis. The Dynegy settlement authorizes a certain distribution structure and an allowance for settling claims not covered in the initial distribution. If it does become a template, it appears that only the entities at the settlement table?not ?social benefit? projects such as conservation?will be in line for a piece of the settlement pie. ?The CPUC has three choices. It can decrease rates. It can order a one-time rebate. Or it can pay down the debt? from bonds used to finance the state?s power purchases during the energy crisis, explained Oscar Hidalgo, Department of Water Resources spokesperson. There appears to be no legal precedent as to how such money is distributed?it apparently could go into state projects as well as into ratepayers? wallets. However, Dresslar noted that in the last state budget there was some guidance from the Legislature on disbursement. In this case, because the parties to the settlement included only those that had participated at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission refund proceedings, distribution outside those parties was not considered, according to sources. Others with claims can opt into the settlement instead of pursuing their own venues. ?There?s no reason it couldn?t? be refunded to the state in other ways, noted Dresslar. For instance, a 2002 settlement with Williams over energy crisis law enforcement issues found $80 million of a $417 million settlement going to the state for alternative energy and retrofits. In the Dynegy settlement released April 26, utilities will receive $137 million. Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric will have their portion?$38 million and $16.5 million, respectively?dealt with by the CPUC. Pacific Gas & Electric had already agreed in its bankruptcy settlement that its share, $82.3 million, will pay down outstanding debts to the California Power Exchange. DWR is set to get $123 million, with its allocation also up to the CPUC. The Attorney General?s Office is allocated $8 million. Other parties have $13 million. FERC gets $3 million. Dynegy also promised to perform semiannual outage audits and to live up to its ?code of conduct.? The company, through the West Coast Power partnership, owns 2,300 MW in Southern California. The CPUC must vote to approve the settlement.