Monday, July 18, 2005

Enron settles with State of California

Five years after the energy crisis began in California, the State is finally getting closure in its dispute with Enron.

Enron Corp., whose energy traders bragged about stealing money from "Grandma Millie" in California, has agreed to pay $1.52 billion to California and other Western states to settle claims of price gouging during the 2000-01 energy crisis.

"Grandma Millie can feel vindication. We've been fighting for her rights, " said California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, who filed a lawsuit against the energy trader after audiotapes emerged of its traders chortling over schemes called "Death Star," "Fat Boy'" and "Get Shorty" that drastically drove up energy prices during the crisis.

But Grandma Millie will see precious little relief from the settlement of the suit charging that Enron illegally rigged the market by withholding power to make prices soar. The actual payout is likely to be more in the neighborhood of $260 million because the energy trader is bankrupt and has limited assets.