Calif. Senate To Subpoena Documents From Power Generators : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Calif. Senate To Subpoena Documents From Power Generators (KFWB/AP) -- California's Senate Rules Committee plans to issue subpoenas to eight out-of-state electricity generators, demanding documents on bidding, pricing and other aspects of power sales in the state.

The subpoenas are part of a special Senate committee's investigation into whether the companies are illegally profiteering from California's power crisis.

The committee is looking within the state for answers as well.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power could find its records subpoenaed if it doesn't provide information on its power sales. The manager of the state's power grid reported the DWP had made large profits by selling power to the rest of the state.

The committee may even subpoena records from the state Department of Water Resources unless it turns over information on how it has spent more than $7 billion to keep the state's lights on.

The committee's chairman, Sen. Joe Dunn, D-Santa Ana, said he expects the out-of-state companies to resist, setting the stage for a court battle.

Though energy executives seemed cooperative when the investigation was launched two months ago, they have since demanded that confidentiality protection for their documents, Dunn said.

Energy executives deny that they've broken any laws selling electricity to California at record-high prices.

The Legislature also needs information on the electricity the state DWP buys from wholesalers for the customers of the state's three largest investor-owned utilities, and the bidding strategies used to the make the bids, said Sen. Ross Johnson, R-Irvine, vice chairman of the rules panel.

Davis has refused to release details of the deals, warning that if generators knew how much the state was spending on power they might raise their prices. Several news organizations and a legislator are suing to make the information public.

The subpoenas will be issued to Reliant Energy, which Gov. Gray Davis has publicly accused of price gouging, Dynegy Energy Services Inc., Williams Energy, Enron Corp., NRG Energy Inc., Duke Energy, Mirant Inc., and AES Corp.

Dunn's panel needed approval of the rules committee to issue the subpoenas under Senate regulations.

The committee won't issue the subpoenas for at least one-week, after the chairman of the Rules Committee, Senate President Pro Tem John Burton, D-San Francisco, opposed issuing subpoenas to the city and state departments, at least temporarily.

-- PHO (, June 05, 2001

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