Williams responds to FERC

Wednesday, May 22nd 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Williams Companies is responding to an investigation by the Federal government.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ordered more than 100 energy-trading companies across the country to respond. Specifically, they want to know if the companies took part in any "Enron" style trading practices.

News on Six business reporter Steve Berg says the Enron scandal has hurt the reputation of "every" company in the business of trading energy. In fact, this investigation by the federal government was prompted by a bunch of Enron internal memos.

The memos detail a dozen different strategies used by Enron that allegedly caused the California power crisis a couple of years ago. So, they've asked other companies, including Williams Companies, whether they used any of the same "kinds" of strategies.

Williams denies taking part in any of the strategies except for one, exporting power from California. They say it's not possible to track those trades, so they can't confirm "or" deny it, but they say it would not have had an effect on California's power shortages either way. Williams was also very specific in saying they did "not" inflate the price of electricity in California.

The Feds think that some companies may have bought California-produced power, sold it "outside" of California, and then sold it "back" to California at a higher price, to avoid that state's price caps.

Again, we want to emphasize that the Federal government is asking these same questions of "everybody", not just Williams Companies.