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Sempra Energy faces Mounting Legal Woes

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posted on Nov, 17 2005 @ 09:40 AM
California Attorney General Bill Lockyer filed a new lawsuit against energy giant Sempra Wednesday, accusing the company of using Enron-like tactics to manipulate the California energy market during the 2000-01 energy crisis. Sempra is already battling a $23 billion class-action suit in San Diego.
Attorney general accuses Sempra of widespread market manipulation

By: STEVE LAWRENCE - Associated Press

SACRAMENTO -- California's attorney general filed a lawsuit Wednesday accusing a Sempra Energy affiliate of using illegal, Enron-like tactics to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in higher electricity prices during the energy crisis of 2000-01.

"This is a close second to Enron," Attorney General Bill Lockyer said, referring to the now-defunct energy company that used colorfully named maneuvers like Death Star and Fat Boy to boost electricity prices. "I suggest this is Enron's twin brother in terms of the extent they ripped off California consumers."

"It wasn't just one accidental event," he said at a news conference. "It was a pattern of active manipulation of the energy markets."

He said the illegal Sempra tactics included:

Filing false schedules with the California Independent System Operator, manager of most of California's electricity system, to create the illusion of congestion on the state's power grid and then getting paid to relieve the fake congestion.

Getting paid by Cal-ISO to keep electricity in reserve for an emergency and then not keeping it in reserve.

Exaggerating the amount of power it intended to generate to boost income.

Exporting electricity from California and then selling it back to California customers at higher prices.

Lockyer said that last maneuver, known a "ricochet game," was the most egregious tactic used by the company and involved enough electricity to supply the entire state for two days at peak demand.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

The heat is on Sempra Energy to account for its business practices during the California energy crisis of 2000-01.

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[edit on 20-11-2005 by asala]

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