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Consumer News Release

For immediate release -- Saturday, November 4, 2000.

Miller: Oil Overcharge Payments to Iowa Top $77 Million

Friday's $337,928 payment to Iowa likely is last of payments that started in the late-1980s.

DES MOINES-- Attorney General Tom Miller said Iowa received another $338,000 in "oil-overcharge" funds on Friday - bringing the total to over $77 million paid to Iowa since the late-1980s. The funds come from multi-state settlement of cases alleging that oil companies overcharged customers during a time of Federal price controls on oil products from 1973 to 1981.

"This probably is our last significant payment in the oil overcharge case," Miller said. "It was a classic case of states banding together to accomplish what we couldn't do alone."

States have been able to use oil overcharge funds for efforts such as weatherization of state buildings, energy conservation efforts, and energy assistance to lower-income persons. In Iowa, oil overcharge moneys have been dedicated to the Energy Conservation Trust Fund. The payment of $337,928 was scheduled to be wired to the State Treasurer's Office Friday. Some oil companies settled only recently, and the court gave some companies several years to make their payments.

"The oil overcharge case was one of the first big cases states tackled together," Miller said. The case involved companies such as Exxon and Diamond Shamrock and many others charging more than allowed under federal price controls. "Many people thought the matter was too technical and complicated for states to handle, but we pooled resources and got it done," Miller said.

Iowa has led or participated in numerous multi-state cases. Miller noted that the oil overcharge case still totals the highest payments ever made to states in settlement of multi-state cases - but he said the multi-billion-dollar tobacco settlement will surpass the oil overcharge case on Dec. 31 when the tobacco industry makes its next scheduled payments.

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