The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is likely to take action before the end of July over its findings that 37 energy companies and municipal utilities may have broken Californian trading rules during the state’s 2000-2001 energy crisis, specifically rules set by the Californian ISO, and the California Power Exchange, a now bankrupt auction house. FERC staff lawyers have recommended that the FERC issue ‘show cause’ orders to the 37 suspected organisations, forcing them to justify their actions or pay back unfairly acquired profits.

The report, published internally in March, found ‘epidemic’ price manipulations by Enron Corp and other suppliers during the 2000-2001 crisis, precipitating blackouts and price hikes that forced the state to step in and buy power on behalf of utilities. It names Sempra Energy, Dynegy, Duke Energy, Mirant and Reliant, as well as municipal authorities in Los Angeles (LA Dept of Water and Power) and Pasadena.

l A third Enron executive, energy trader John M Forney, has been charged by US federal authorities over his alleged role as architect of several illegal schemes used by Enron to drive up California’s energy prices between 1999 and 2001.