CU: Manipulation of the Energy Markets Should Be Illegal
WE THINK IT SHOULD BE
If you thought that the Federal Power Act – the law most central to the regulation of our nation’s energy markets – prohibited companies like Enron from manipulating the electricity markets, surprisingly you’d be wrong. The Federal Power Act does not make it illegal to manipulate the electricity markets! That makes no sense.
That’s why we are writing to express our strong support for an amendment that will be offered to S. 14, the Energy Policy Act of 2003, that would rectify this glaring oversight. The amendment, to be offered by Senator Maria Cantwell and others, would:
— make market manipulation illegal under the Federal Power Act;
— allow for the application of the Act’s civil and criminal penalties to any party that knowingly engages in manipulative practices; and
— amend the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s rate-making authority to make it clear that if a party knowingly manipulates competitive electricity markets, it can no longer sell electricity at market rates.
One of the hard learned lessons from the Western electricity meltdown of 2000 and 2001 is that when energy companies manipulate the electricity markets, devastating consequences result. Billions of dollars were lost and millions of lives were adversely affected. The toll on businesses both large and small was enormous.
Congress should do everything within its power to ensure that such devastation never occurs again, and, if it does, that those responsible are punished severely. Please protect the nation’s electricity markets from further Enron-style manipulations – support the Cantwell amendment.
Adam J. Goldberg
Mark N. Cooper
Director of Research
Consumer Federation of America