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Consumer Watchdog Report Warns of Enron All Over Again As Governor Jerry Brown And Electricity Deregulation Era Fixers Poised To Rip Off California Ratepayers With Revival Of Western Power Trading Casino

LOS ANGELES, June 18, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- California leaders are being pressed by former allies of Enron and energy traders who ripped off the state to gamble away California's energy future on the revival of a plan for a Western regional power trading system that will benefit billionaires and Wall Street and put ratepayers and the environment at risk, Consumer Watchdog finds in a new report.

The report reveals that legislation reauthorizing an Enron-era law, AB 813, authored by Assembly Member Chris Holden and to be heard Tuesday in the California Senate, is a scheme that will leave the market open to trading manipulation that will raise electricity rates. The plan will also undermine California's control of carbon emissions and pollution from power plants by empowering Trump appointees to overturn California laws.

Read the report, Betting Against The House: How California's Leaders Could Gamble Away Our Energy Future On A Western Power Trading Casino, at https://consumerwatchdog.org/sites/default/files/2018-06/BettingAgainstTheHouse.pdf

"Why would Californians support such a plan?" the report asks. "It's backed by Governor Jerry Brown, a coterie of his former and current appointees, fixers for energy billionaires, and remarkably, representatives of 'mainstream environmental groups' such as such as the Natural Resources Defense Council's Ralph Cavanagh that once promoted Enron."

The report reveals, for example, that Cavanagh, the chief backer of the Western trading scheme now and of deregulation in the late 1990s, vouched for Enron, claiming, "Can you trust Enron? On stewardship issues and public benefit issues...the answer is yes."  

The report also uncovers a private recording of one of the principal backers of the legislation acknowledging the danger to California's environmental laws from Trump appointees at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) under the plan.

"Billionaire investors such as Warren Buffett, energy companies, and Wall Street banks see big profits off power exports to California, including coal power, that a regional power trading market would facilitate," author Liza Tucker wrote. "They see big opportunities in building expensive new transmission lines underwritten largely by Californians to vastly expand a speculative commodities market in which contracts for electricity, whether dirty or clean, are bought and sold like pork bellies.

"But giving up control over California's own power grid threatens new forms of Enron-style market manipulation that led to California's disastrous energy crisis two decades ago, rolling blackouts, shrinking clean energy and efficiency investments, and a tab of some $40 billion to Californians," the report states. "When traders run the casino, the house always wins and consumers are left at great risk."

The report finds:

The report finds that the fixers pushing legislation to create this trading market include:

SOURCE Consumer Watchdog

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