FERC Settles Coral Investigation

By Published On: March 5, 2005

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission agreed to drop its investigation of Coral Energy Resources of Houston in return for $4 million in charitable contributions. In 2002, FERC started looking into allegations that Enron and other energy firms had submitted false information to price-reporting publications during California?s energy crisis. According to a statement, the agency asked Coral for information and received a response showing that Coral?s traders were innocent. When the Commodity Futures Trading Commission investigated further, it found that Coral had made false reports and fined the firm $30 million. ?This settlement sends an important message to the industry,? said FERC chair Patrick Wood, in a statement. ?We expect the companies we regulate to be completely forthright and honest in their dealings with the Commission.? In a statement, Coral said its responses to FERC ?were complete based on the facts known to us at the time.? The company does not believe it violated any FERC rules and considers the settlement ?the most effective means of resolving our outstanding issues with them,? it added. The March 2 action is the end of the investigation into Coral, but litigation against Enron continues. Tuesday, FERC submitted more than 20 hours of Enron tapes, along with extensive notes on the tapes, as evidence in the ongoing energy crisis investigation. At its meeting, FERC also passed actions related to local California land-use issues. It approved three environmental plans for the Utica Power Authority and the Calaveras County Water District: a vernal pool protection plan, a watershed maintenance plan, and a wildlife-crossing maintenance plan. It approved a request from Pacific Gas & Electric and the U.S. Forest Service to adjust PG&E?s management of recreation areas on the Mokelumne River, the North Fork Mokelumne, and the Bear River in Alpine, Amador, and Calaveras Counties. Southern California Edison received a waiver of notice requirements under Section 35.11 for an interconnection agreement with PPM Energy. In new business, FERC accepted a filing from North Baja Pipeline, Coral Resources, and Energia Azteca filed to allow North Baja to assign some of Energia Azteca?s capacity to Coral. The agency also accepted an application for 2 MW of new generating capacity at the West Valley A&B Hydro Project on the Pit River in Modoc County. It?s open for interventions and protests until May 2.

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