June 02, 2004

Isn't capitalism wonderful?

Especially when the government gets all those troublesome rules and regulatory bodies out of the way?

The Snohomish County Public Utility District (located near Seattle, Washington) has obtained tapes of Enron energy traders talking to each other during the 2001 energy crisis in California and other parts of the western US. (During which Enron and other US energy companies made a killing by manipulating energy prices and supplies.)

The word disgusting doesn't even begin to cover what's on the tapes.

"He just f---s California," says one Enron employee. "He steals money from California to the tune of about a million."

"Will you rephrase that?" asks a second employee.

"OK, he, um, he arbitrages the California market to the tune of a million bucks or two a day," replies the first. [...]

"If you took down the steamer [a power plant], how long would it take to get it back up?" an Enron worker is heard saying.

"Oh, it's not something you want to just be turning on and off every hour. Let's put it that way," another says.

"Well, why don't you just go ahead and shut her down."

The Snohomish PUD obtained the Enron tapes from the US Justice Department as part of its effort to get a refund of the millions of dollars the PUD claims it was overcharged by Enron. Says one PUD official: 'This is the evidence we've all been waiting for. This proves they [Enron] manipulated the market.'

The PUD has more information on the Enron tapes here.

Via CBS News.

Posted by Magpie at June 2, 2004 06:27 AM | Economy | Technorati links |

Thanks for the info, Magpie. I hope the (Nixonian expletive deleted)s exposed on these tapes rot in jail for a long time.

Remember, Enron's low-level employees... people who knew nothing about their company's manipulation of energy trading... had their lives turned upside down, too. Laid off suddenly, their retirement funds whisked away, diminished job prospects in a Bush economy, etc., many of these people are only now recovering any kind of stability in their lives. We're talking thousands of people, not just a handful. For what it's worth, many Texans loathe Enron as surely as Californians do.

Posted by: Steve Bates at June 2, 2004 04:22 PM

I honestly don't know which is worse: that they did this kind of crap, that they thought they could get away with it, or that they did get away with it for so long. Bastards.

Posted by: NTodd at June 2, 2004 05:49 PM

And Neil Goldschmidt, before his sudden fall from grace, was the kingpin in trying to hand over Portland's PGE to another Texas Company

Posted by: Ron In Portland at June 2, 2004 06:06 PM

It is nice that the tapes are finally available - we all knew this was the real reason for the energy crunch in California - and the ripping off the rate payers in Oregon and Washington.

Posted by: Mary at June 3, 2004 04:28 AM