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CONSORTIUM NEWS - Edited by Robert Parry


March 27, 2003

While You Were Warring: FERC Rules Energy Companies Manipulated Markets

"FERC: Traders conned the state' (3/27/03 - Contra Costa Times)

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued a 350-page report on its yearlong investigation into energy market manipulation by the likes of Enron. The report found companies employed a variety of strategies to artificially inflate prices, beef up their trading portfolios and create power shortages.

The FERC also order Enron (already bankrupt), Reliant Resources, a spinoff of Houston's local public utility, and BP Power, a unit of one of the world's four largest oil companies, to show why their licenses to participate in power markets should not be revoked.

As reported in the Contra Costa Times:

FERC also released its evidence in the investigation, including transcripts of conversations between traders, e-mails and other reports and documents, a data dump so massive it could fill 1.5 million floppy disks.

Among the conversations made public Wednesday were discussions between power traders about keeping California power-thirsty. In one previously confidential conversation that California officials used as evidence, a trader for Avista tells another trader in June 2000 he is trying to get sellers to refuse to sell into the state for a couple of days to protest market rules.

"We need to let them know what side their megawatt is buttered on," the Avista trader says, adding later, "So they can sit in the dark. ... I shouldn't be saying this on the recorded line."

[Read the source...]

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