Plant Workers Testify Against Duke Energy : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Plant Workers Testify Against Duke Energy (KFWB/AP) 6.22.01, 9:30a --

Former employees at a Duke Energy plant are testifying before a California Senate committee and are expected to say that the power company took steps that may have manipulated California's wholesale energy market. Several former workers at Duke's South Bay power plant in Chula Vista believe some of Duke's actions may have been designed to push up prices in California's already inflated energy market, according to CBS News.

"They started this very dangerous game. . . we're not just gonna roll over. . . before this is all over, somebody's going to go to jail," Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante tells KFWB.

"Their allegations are dead wrong," said Tom Williams, a spokesman for the Charlotte, N.C.-based energy company.

Here's what the three workers are expected to say in their testimony today, based on their comments to CBS News.

Glenn Johnson, a mechanic at the plant for more than 20 years, said units within the plant were shut down unnecessarily, and he claimed Duke ordered maintenance shutdowns even though he didn't have the needed parts.

Ed Edwards, who worked there for 22 years, said Duke ran the most expensive turbine at the plant that produced the least power.

Johnson and Edwards believe Duke took those actions to reduce energy supplies and drive prices up.

Jimmy Olkjer, a former assistant control room operator, said Duke ordered power levels to quickly rise and fall, which never happened when San Diego Gas and Electric owned the plant.

"They were manipulating the market," Olkjer told CBS. But Williams said those actions weren't taken to manipulate the market.

"These allegations are not only offensive they're completely unproductive to progress in the energy crisis," he said.

Anytime equipment was shut down, there was a good reason, Williams said. And when power levels fell and rose, it was at the request of the agency that manages California's power grid.

Williams said Duke ran the inefficient turbine because it operates on jet fuel, which is now cheaper than natural gas -- the fuel the four other units at the plant depend on.

The three workers were let go by Duke in April 2001 at the end of a two-year period during which Duke had to maintain the plant's SDG&E work force, Williams said.

-- PHO (, June 22, 2001


Talk about a hard case to prove. This one is almost impossible.

-- JackW (, June 22, 2001.

Jeez with a HONEST worker willing TO PUT HIS JOB ON THE LINE! Might get very interesting!! Funny how its HARD to HIDE the TRUTH!! Gno

-- Geno-ca (, June 22, 2001.

Please read Williams statement very carefully. He said--"These allegations are not only offensive they're completely unproductive to progress in the energy crisis,"--he DID NOT say that the allegations were false.

-- Jimmy James (, June 22, 2001.

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