california energy crisis

Enron Tapes Hint Chiefs Knew About Power Ploys
california energy crisis

LA Times reports, "Enron Corp. employees spoke of 'stealing' up to $2 million a day from California during the 2000-01 energy crisis and suggested that their market-gaming ploys would be presented to top management, possibly including Jeffrey K. Skilling and Kenneth L. Lay, according to documents released Monday. The evidence of apparent scheming - in one recorded conversation, traders brag about taking money from 'Grandma Millie' in California - is in a filing by a utility in Snohomish County, Wash. The municipal power unit north of Seattle wants refunds for alleged overcharges made by Enron during the electricity market meltdown. The utility obtained transcripts of routinely recorded trader discussions from the Justice Department, which seized them in its Enron investigation."

BushCheney's Energy Gangbangers Get Away with Rape of California
california energy crisis

Paul Krugman writes, "Most independent experts now believe that during 2000-2001, price manipulation by energy companies, mainly taking the form of 'economic withholding' - keeping capacity offline to drive up prices - added billions of dollars to California's electricity bills. A March FERC report concluded that there had been extensive manipulation of prices in both the natural gas and electricity markets. Using methods widely accepted among economists, the California Independent System Operator - which operates the power grid - estimated that withholding by electricity companies had cost the state $8.9 billion. This estimate doesn't include the continuing cost of long-term contracts the state signed, at inflated prices, to keep the lights on during the crisis. Yet the charges energy companies agreed to added up to only a bit more than $1 million. That is, the average Californian was bilked of more than $250, but the state will receive compensation of about 3 cents."

Republicans Raped California Once, Now They're Back for More
california energy crisis

Robert Scheer writes, "How dare Arnold Schwarzenegger or any Republican now ignore the well-documented gaming of the California energy market by Bush's Texas cronies, many of whom landed high posts in his administration? Was Davis responsible for manufacturing spikes in energy prices that nearly bankrupted the state? Of course not -- but he took the political hit when the lights went out. It's a safe bet that Schwarzenegger and the other Republicans running will offer not a word of criticism of Dick Cheney's infamous meetings with top energy executives that excluded consumer representatives. The minutes of those meetings are still secret, yet we know that the policy that emerged benefited the con artists who caused California's energy crisis... Davis failed in paying too much to get the lights back on, but I dare any of the Republican candidates for his job to step forward and tell us that they would not have bailed out PG&E and Southern California Edison."

California Energy Scam Traced to the White House
california energy crisis

Katherine Yurica writes, "This story ends as it began: with unrequited lies, deception and fraud. Three sentences inserted into the National Energy Policy report reveal: 1) the White House knew the California crisis was man-made; 2) knew the power companies were manipulating the market in California; 3) and knew these facts at the time the people of California were being fleeced by the scam; 4) yet the Bush White House did nothing to stop the fraud. A special prosecutor should be appointed by Congress to investigate this whole matter as well as what Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney knew and when they knew it."

FERC Finds Bush's Energy Pals Robbed California Blind
california energy crisis

AP reports, "Seven Enron Corp. subsidiaries and five other energy companies manipulated natural gas and electricity prices and supplies in California, federal energy regulators ruled Wednesday. As a result of the manipulation, FERC Chairman Pat Wood said California would receive more than the $1.8 billion in refunds recommended by a FERC judge in December. The exact amount is to be determined in the coming months, but FERC spokesman Kevin Cadden estimated that the total would be $3.3 billion. California is seeking $9 billion... California Gov. Gray Davis said the ruling confirms 'there was widespread market manipulation and a massive ripoff of California ratepayers. Now the question is whether the FERC commissioners will have the grit to order the remedies that are necessary.' The agency is considering placing limits on the profits of four marketers of wholesale power and banning eight gas companies from selling natural gas in California, Wood said."

Bush-Cheney and the Great California Rate Payer Rip-Off
california energy crisis

The front pages were buzzing with fresh reports of one energy company and the great California Rip Off -- "deliberately keeping a power plant from generating electricity so the company could take advantage of sky-high wholesale electricity prices the state was forced to pay to keep the lights on. [The evidence was sealed by Bush's FERC. It was Paul Krugman who first wrote about the Williams tapes cover up. How could FERC keep this smoking gun concealed for a year? Easy -- it wouldn't have jibed with Bush's energy policy.] It's highly unlikely that Bush, Cheney and members of the energy task force were kept in the dark about the Williams scam, especially since the findings of the investigation by FERC took place around the same time the policy was being drafted. [This is why it's crucial that Cheney release the energy policy list of names.] Cheney's stonewalling tactics have bought the administration some time. But the heat is on."

California Power Companies' Board Members Tied to White House
california energy crisis

David Lazarus reports: "So now we know, thanks to documents just released by federal regulators, that energy providers Williams and AES conspired to drive electricity prices higher during the worst of the California power crisis. What most people don't know, though, is that board members of both companies have links to the White House, as do directors of other energy heavyweights that have received subpoenas for their alleged role in fleecing California ratepayers....And what of AES, the company Williams was conniving with to send electricity prices skyrocketing? Richard Darman, who worked with Cheney in the first Bush administration (he headed the Office of Management and Budget) has sat on the AES board since August. Darman is also a managing director of the Carlyle Group, the Washington investment firm led by some of the world's most influential men, including former Secretary of State James Baker and former Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci."

Democratic Senate Committee Slams FERC for California Enronergy Debacle
california energy crisis

Zachary Coile writes: "The nation's chief energy watchdogs were guilty of a 'shocking absence of regulatory vigilance' in failing to police market abuses by Enron Corp., including allegations that the Houston firm manipulated prices during the California energy crisis, according to a Senate report. The report by the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee faulted the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for waiting nearly two years after allegations of market manipulation surfaced in California to launch a formal inquiry into Enron's practices." The 50 page report chastises the FERC for failing to investigate allegations of market manipulation in a timely manner and concludes that even now the enforcement staff is below the level necessary. "The report by the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee faulted the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for waiting nearly two years after allegations of market manipulation surfaced in California to launch a formal inquiry into Enron's practices."

Bushit! GOP Uses Census Bureau Scam for Fund-Raising Blitz
california energy crisis

Is the GOP running a political party - or a boiler room scam? Hard to tell these days! They use the same tactics that win others a spot on the Post Office wall under the heading "Scam Warning." Now they are using a Trojan horse scam to force their literature into the hands of the unwilling and unwitting. David Broder reports in the Post that recipients found an "official-looking brown envelope, with a return address on the front identifying it as a 'REGISTERED CENSUS DOCUMENT.' Large letters next to the address window commanded, 'DO NOT BEND.' Adding to the governmental imprimatur, the second and third lines of the return address read, 'Penalty for Private Use (Rev. 3/95).'" Inside is a GOP plea for funds for the 2002 Congressional elections! The Census Bureau is furious: "We consider this serious, because the Census relies on public trust for the responses we need on our surveys." Meanwhile, in true scam artist style, the GOP is denying they knew about the tactic. Yeah, right.

California Judge Rules Enron Must Turn Over Documents In Probe Of Alleged Price Gouging
california energy crisis

"Enron Corp. must turn over sensitive financial documents to a state Senate committee probing charges of price gouging during the state's energy crisis…But Sacramento Superior Court Judge Charles Kobayashi also ruled lawmakers must provide Enron with a confidentiality agreement....The Senate Select Committee to Investigate Market Manipulation has subpoenaed documents from a number of energy firms to probe accusations California power agencies and utilities were overcharged some $8.9 billion for wholesale electricity during the state's energy crisis which saw power prices in the state soar tenfold...The committee has already asked the full Senate to cite Enron as well as Reliant Energy Inc. for contempt for failing to comply with a subpoena seeking confidential documents. It would be the first such citation imposed by the state Senate since 1929, but has not yet come up for a vote."

GAO Reveals Fed. Regulatory Commission's Coverup of the California Energy Rip Off
california energy crisis

The Federal Regulatory Commission's effort to coverup the intentional manipulation of CA power supplies by the energy industry in order to reap huge profits has been exposed by the General Accounting Office. When the GAO reviewed the FRC's "study" of the CA crisis, released in Feb., it discovered that the agency presented only physical reasons for outages (i.e., the turbines aren't on!), and did not look any further. This is tantamount to a detective stating in a homicide report, "Yep, looks like this guy's been stabbed," without reference to a search for a murderer or murder weapon. The "intensive" FRC investigation appears to have consisted largely of phone calls and guided tours of power plants by industry officials. This is like our homicide detectives relying on advice from the chief suspect! In any case, industry experts say that it is "practically impossible" to determine whether blackouts were justified just by looking at the superficial evidence.

The California Energy Crisis is a Fraud, Start to Finish, Orchestrated by Bush and His Buddies for Greed and Revenge
california energy crisis

At last! The unvarnished truth about the California energy "crisis." And where did we find this revelation - in the Post? In the NY Times? Perhaps the LA Times? Nope! The only major paper that would print the story, written by investigative reporter Greg Palast, was the U.K. Guardian. Thank God free speech and truth still prevail SOMEWHERE. A sample: "In all, says last week's report by Dr. Anjali Shiffren of the [CA] grid system, 'monopoly rents,' 'economic withholding,' and 'physical withholding' were responsible for artificial shortages and excess charges of $6.2 billion last year - half of the state's light bill. In other words, California did not run out of energy, it ran out of supplies of government" - a situation created two years ago by Gray Davis's Repbulican predecessor.

Power To the People! Gray Davis Threatens Plant Seizure if Industry Manipulations Don't Cease
california energy crisis

If Shrub thinks he is justified in seeking the power to seize private land to build power lines for his energy buddies, then CA Gov. Gray Davis has a million times more justification for seizing power plants to help American citizens. Davis says if Reliant Energy hasn't gotten it together to serve the people they are contracted to serve, then they will be the first in line for plant seizure. The Gov is drawing a line - let's help see that it ain 't crossed by the Shrubcheney Energy Consortium (humorously known as the "administration"). Stand your ground, Gray! We're behind you!