Under a proposed settlement between California and BC Hydro subsidiary Powerex, a $750 million refund is to head to the state to end outstanding legal disputes stemming from market gaming charges arising during the state\u2019s initial attempt at electricity deregulation in 2000-01. \u201cI am very pleased with this settlement, which is the largest one yet,\u201d Mike Peevey, California Public Utilities Commission president, stated Aug. 16. \u201cIt\u2019s a major advance toward closing the books on the energy crisis of 2000-2001, when California was crippled by excessively high electricity prices.\u201d The California parties, including the commission, the three investor-owned utilities and state Attorney General, sought $3.2 billion in refunds from Powerex. \tThe \u201cvast majority\u201d of the $750 million is expected to go to Pacific Gas & Electric, San Diego Gas & Electric, and Southern California Edison ratepayers, according to California Attorney General Kamala Harris. Regulators are to divvy up the settlement gain\u2014assuming the deal is approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission\u2014over the next six months. The monies are to be reflected as credits in ratepayers\u2019 utility bills. \t\u201cPowerex engaged in market gaming by purchasing and exporting to Canada huge quantities of electricity California needed, and selling it back to California at exorbitant prices,\u201d Harris said. Under the pending settlement, Powerex does not admit the market gaming charges. \u201cWhen you weigh this settlement versus a potential $3.2 billion legal liability, we determined it was in the best interest of taxpayers to settle and put this long-standing dispute behind us,\u201d stated Canada\u2019s Minister of Energy & Mines, Bill Bennett. \u201cSince 2003 we've sold over $3.5 billion worth of electricity to California. This settlement allows us to move forward on a very productive commercial relationship,\u201d Bennett added. Last February, a federal regulatory judge ruled against Powerex and 15 other sellers still involved in the 13-year old energy crisis dispute. Another FERC hearing was set for Aug.27, which motivated the settlement, according to Powerex. \tNot settling could have led to another five years of litigation and $50 million in additional U.S. legal expenses, plus another $125 million in interest, Powerex noted. \u201cPowerex spent $105 million since the power crisis on legal costs and other expenses,\u201d including expert witnesses, consultation, data experts, a government spokesperson told Current. The underlying negotiations were mediated by Judge Edward Leavy of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and Lisa Jaye of the Ninth Circuit\u2019s mediation office. If this settlement is approved by FERC, as predicted, the state will have reaped a total $4 billion from energy crisis claims, according to the CPUC. To-date, 47 sellers have settled separately with the California Parties, 15 parties have refused to settle.