CALIFORNIA Senate committee cites power companies for contempt for withholding documents - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |

CALIFORNIA Senate committee cites power companies for contempt for withholding documents

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ A Senate committee investigating possible price manipulation in California's energy markets cited two power generators for not turning over documents requested for the probe.

The documents _ which include details on bidding, pricing and other aspects of power sales _ had been requested in subpoenas issued earlier this month to Enron Corp., Mirant Inc. and four other generating companies.

On Thursday, the Senate Select Committee to Investigate Market Manipulation approved a contempt motion, citing Enron and Mirant for not producing the materials. The other four generators complied.

The motion still needs approval by the full Senate.

The Senate Rules Committee had subpoenaed the materials.

Enron, based in Houston, said its documents are outside the committee's jurisdiction because they are kept in Texas. An attorney for Atlanta-based Mirant said the company wanted to comply, but did not act quickly enough to avoid the contempt vote.

California law does not specify penalties for a contempt finding, said Laurence Drivon, the committee's special counsel. ``The Senate can take such action as it deems necessary and appropriate,'' he said.

Enron's claim that the committee lacked jurisdiction outraged some senators, who said previous legislative investigations have sought documents from throughout the world.

``If they've done nothing, if they've got nothing to hide, there's no reason'' not to comply, Sen. Debra Bowen said.

The committee has been negotiating with the companies to try to reach a confidentiality agreement for the release of the documents, and has asked the generators to sign agreements not to destroy any potentially relevant documents.

So far, some companies have agreed verbally, but none has signed.

Duke Energy agreed to comply with the subpoenas and store documents in a repository in Sacramento, if the company and the committee can agree on how to keep the documents confidential. Lawyers for both sides said they could work out an agreement.

Enron and Mirant can have the contempt citations withdrawn if they turn over the requested documents to the repository by July 10.
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