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E-Mail Suggests DWP Role in Trading Scheme


June 23, 2002

Evidence uncovered by a state Senate investigation of California's electricity crisis includes a warning from an energy trader in which he suggests that the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (news - web sites) engaged in "ricochet," a trading scheme to raise power prices that the DWP has denied using.

Among the documents turned over to Senate investigators recently and obtained by The Times is a November 2000 e-mail from an employee of the energy-trading arm of Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. that specifically advised other power traders to "beware of ricochets with LDWP." The term "ricochet" is commonly used in the energy-trading business to refer to a scheme in which power is traded back and forth across the California border in order to inflate its price. The practice is also known as "megawatt laundering."

DWP officials declared under oath to state and federal investigators last month that the city utility did not engage in ricochet transactions in 2000. State Sen. Joe Dunn (D-Santa Ana), chairman of the select committee to investigate possible price manipulation of California's now-defunct energy market, said Thursday that the PG&E National Energy Group e-mail will prompt him to hold hearings, perhaps as soon as this week.

"It's an area that we will be exploring in great detail, and I hope for their sake it doesn't turn out to be what it initially appears to be, and that is that LADWP committed perjury," Dunn said.

By NANCY VOGEL. Source: http://www.latimes.com/


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