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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on several aspects of the Department of Energy's (DOE) Economic Regulatory Administration's (ERA) handling of the proposed settlement of overcharge litigation against an oil company.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Energy 1. The Secretary of Energy should instruct the Administrator, ERA, to develop and implement explicit requirements for documenting significant events relating to the settlement of oil overcharge cases, including: (1) settlement negotiations; (2) the factors considered in litigation risk analyses; (3) reviews of and comments on proposed settlements by other DOE officials; and (4) the bases for agreeing to allow long-term payments of proposed settlement amounts. A requirement should be included that all documentation be maintained at a central location, where it is readily available for examination.
Closed - Implemented
The ERA Administrator issued guidance on documenting settlement negotiations, litigation risk analyses, and long-term payments, and for maintaining documents in a central location. ERA will also seek documentation on reviews by other DOE officials.

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