This antitrust action, filed in the Superior Court of California, San Diego County, was brought on behalf of individuals and businesses in California who purchased natural gas for use (not for resale) from January 1, 1999, through December 31, 2002. The lawsuit alleges that defendants caused the price of natural gas to increase by conducting prearranged “wash trades” (simultaneously purchasing and selling the same amount of natural gas at the same price) and reporting false price and volume information to trade publications. Plaintiffs allege that, as a result, California business and residential consumers paid more for natural gas than they otherwise would have.
Defendants denied any wrongdoing, but several agreed to settlements totaling approximately $160 million. The settling defendants include Encana, Dynegy, Reliant, Centerpoint, Duke, Williams, Coral Energy Resources, CMS Energy, Aquila Merchant Services, and Sempra.