FERC judge says El Paso unit withheld gas from California amid crisis

In a modified reiteration of a decision issued late last year, a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission judge found that El Paso Corp. illegally exercised market power by withholding supplies of natural gas to California at the time of a statewide power crisis during November 2000-March 2001, thereby inflating prices by a reported $3.7 billion.Previously, FERC Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Curtis L. Wagner had ruled that the Houston-based energy company had not acted to drive up California gas prices on its pipelines unfairly, although it was, however, found to have engaged in "blatant collusion" in sharing shipping information (OGJ Online, Oct. 9, 2001). Last December, FERC reopened the i...

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