Sunday, February 04, 2007

FERC Holds New Enron Hearings After Court Remands

FERC is still holding administrative hearings to determine whether wholesale electricity buyers are owed refunds from Enron due to market manipulation in 2001. The prehearing statement of issues in dispute indicates that the gap between the litigation positions of the parties is large. The buyers claim that Enron made $1.6 billion due to market manipulation; in defense Enron says at most it owes less than $1 million.

Enron trader Timothy Belden has been scheduled to testify at a FERC hearing February 5, 2006, but may take the Fifth Amendment and refuse to testify. He previously pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and entered into a plea agreement.

For a refresher, see this excerpt from The Smartest Guys in the Room, the Oscar-nominated film which contains audio tape excerpts of Enron traders urging the unnecessary shutdown of a power plant in order to drive prices higher, and cheering as fires reduced transmission import capability and made California markets more suceptible to the exercise of market power.

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