US energy news/views

From brian carroll <>
Date Mon, 25 Jun 2001 08:17:20 -0700

some news stories forwarded to

__Billions In Energy Refunds May Be Due California – Whistleblowers Expose
Possible Smoking Gun By Duke Energy

"Talks to settle allegations of electricity price gouging in the West begin
Monday, and the judge overseeing the process says that while California' s
claim of $9 billion seems excessive, refunds of  'several billion dollars'
could be in order…The refund talks were ordered by the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission, and its top administrative law judge, Curtis Wagner,
will preside...The talks won't be limited to California, either, [but] will
extend to power sales in Oregon and Washington…Wagner is also separately
hearing the California Public Utilities Commission's complaint accusing El
Paso Corp. of improperly sharing information with its natural gas marketing
arm to boost the price of natural gas deliveries to California. Duke
Energy, meanwhile, denied as 'baseless' claims by former workers at one of
its California power plants that the company had shut down production units
to drive up electricity prices." But Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante said, "This
is the first smoking gun."

__Cheney Behaves In A Surly, Autocratic Way With California Representatives
Vainly Seeking Relief For California's Energy Situation

"In a meeting [with mostly California Democrats]…the temperature began to
rise in the room as it became clear that Cheney, aside from spending the
hour, planned to offer nothing to ease the energy situation in California.
'We're not asking for anything the law doesn't provide for, and we need to
have our citizens paid attention to,' declared Rep. Anna Eshoo, her voice
reasonably toned but with evident emotion. Cheney responded with what some
in the room interpreted as a condescending tone…Eshoo tried to follow up.
She got as far as 'Mr. Vice President, with all due respect ...' 'Stop it.
You're being very rude. You’re interrupting,' Cheney snapped, cutting off
his questioner the way a headmaster might handle an unruly student. This
was a side of the vice president that even veteran lawmakers had never
seen. 'This was beyond hair-trigger,' says Rep. Ellen Tauscher. 'This is
somebody who has such a visceral reaction to anybody questioning him that
he just flattens you.'"

__Enron -- Bush's Number One Backer -- May Get Privatized Energy Contract
With US Military Under Bush Army Secretary Who Was Enron's Vice Chairman

"The new Army secretary is pressing to speed efforts to let private
contractors run utilities on military bases as the energy company he
recently left seeks millions of dollars from the Pentagon for providing
just such services. Army Secretary Thomas White has said he would remove
himself from decisions involving Enron Energy Services... , where he
served as vice chairman until this year, if there was a clear conflict of
interest. White, a former brigadier general, is consulting with lawyers on
whether he should participate in decisions related to Enron…whose chief
executive officer, Kenneth Lay, is close to President and was a major
contributor to the Bush campaign. White also is in the process of selling
$25 million in Enron stock." Let's hope that White moves faster than
Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill has in divesting from Alcoa. Meanwhile,
Enron has been gouging California with exorbitant energy prices, while
Bush-Cheney have washed their hands of the matter.

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