Enron Ripples

The rock that was Enron is still generating ripples in the energy swamp. From the SacBee, Bankruptcy appears to be likely for San Jose power generator.

A major power company, Calpine Corporation supplies customers and communities with electricity from clean, efficient, natural gas-fired and geothermal power plants. Calpine owns, leases and operates integrated systems of plants in 21 U.S. states and in three Canadian provinces and is building a plant in Mexico. Calpine was founded in 1984

When energy prices collapsed in mid-2001, many of the big power sellers making money in California wound up in bankruptcy court, including Enron. Calpine lost $683 million in the first nine months of this year and has been fending off bankruptcy rumors for some time.

Besides the bankruptcy of big power sellers, Calpine owes $18 Billion and almost all of its plants are fueled by natural gas.

a nice strategy when gas was cheap, a poor strategy now that gas has roughly quadrupled in price since 1999.

Another ripple is making the news in Portland, Oregon. Willamette Week breaks a story, credited by KATU Channel 2 at 11:00 PM, that PGE, owned by Enron collected taxes from utility customers and didn’t pass them on to Enron and didn’t pay the governments involved, but took the taxes into revenue of PGE and used them. The Oregonian has a story by Gail Kinsey Hill about $1 Billion in overcharges beginning in 1997, which appears to be related to the Willamette Week story, which hits the streets at 10:00AM, but does not credit Willamette Week. The Oregonian does say

Much of the controversy focuses on PGE’s collection from ratepayers of $80 million to $90 million annually to cover income taxes, most of which never reached federal and state authorities because of Enron’s tax strategies.[…]

PGE serves customers in 52 cities and parts of six counties (in Oregon). Portland accounts for roughly 25 percent of the utility’s electricity consumption.

Enron Calpine PGE Mover Mike

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