In 2002, then-Attorney General Bill Lockyer announced a novel deal with Williams Energy Marketing & Trading Co.: He would drop price-gouging lawsuits against the Tulsa, Okla., company in exchange for cut-rate power contracts, millions to retrofit public buildings with energy-efficient devices, and six natural gas-fired turbines.

Lockyer touted the $417 million settlement as a boon to “consumers who have borne the brunt of this state’s energy crisis” of 2000 and 2001.

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