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About Ellen F. Rosenblum
Attorney General Hardy Myers today sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman, Patrick Henry Wood III, urging the Commission to take prompt action to protect the rights of ratepayers who have been severely impacted by the fraudulent activities of Enron. Washington Attorney General Christine Gregoire sent a similar letter. Both letters also reiterate the states' requests that FERC provide state investigators with any and all documents related to efforts by the now-bankrupt company to manipulate the west coast energy market.
The letter requests FERC take immediate enforcement action on behalf of Oregon ratepayers and other west coast energy customers to hold Enron accountable. "There can be no doubt that Enron, through fraud and deceit, sent the west coast energy market into an unnecessary and destructive tailspin," said Myers. "The fact that FERC has not already taken adequate steps to hold this company accountable is inexcusable."
The letter follows two recent developments related to Enron's conduct in the energy marketplace. Recent disclosures of tapes and transcripts of phone conversations further demonstrate that Enron was not only complicit in unlawful market manipulation, it was a leader in the development of the fraudulent and deceptive practices. Additionally, last week's federal indictment of former Enron CEO Kenneth Lay supports the states' steadfast assertions of market manipulation.
The letter highlights the need for urgency, as any relief or penalties ordered by FERC are likely to be subject to the terms of the bankruptcy proceeding. Already, many of the claims are being litigated and the priority standing of creditors is being established. FERC acknowledgment of Enron's unlawful behavior will reinforce Oregon's $440 million claim and provide an alternative opportunity for ratepayer relief through a federal claim.
To date, FERC has imposed no meaningful disciplinary action against Enron and made no effort to offset the extraordinary losses suffered by Oregon ratepayers which resulted from Enron's market manipulation. The final letter is available at www.doj.state.or.us.
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