Another electricity trader in California has been zapped by federal officials over the way it trades in the California power market.
Entegra Power Group agreed to pay a $2.5 million fine and cough up $911,553 in "unjust profits," the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission announced this week. The profits will be refunded to California ratepayers, FERC said.
While the case is relatively small, it marks the second time in a week that FERC has imposed sanctions on a power trader over its conduct in California.
Last week FERC imposed a six-month national trading suspension on JPMorgan Chase & Co. for giving investigators false information in a probe of JPMorgan's activities in California. FERC is investigating charges that JPMorgan used manipulative bidding practices to ring up $73 million in excess profits.
JPMorgan has acknowledged providing FERC with false information but denies any wrongdoing in its trades.
The Entegra case broke new ground of sorts. FERC spokeswoman Mary O'Driscoll said it's the first time a power trader has admitted violating the agency's anti-manipulation rules.
Those rules didn't exist before 2005. That's when Congress, reacting to the California energy crisis of 2000 and 2001, broadened FERC's oversight of trading activities. State officials had complained that FERC did very little to rescue California during the worst of the crisis.
The California Independent System Operator, the quasi-state agency that runs the power grid, welcomed the Entegra settlement and applauded the company "for taking responsibility for its actions."
The Entegra case involved trades made in 2009 and 2010. FERC said the Tampa, Fla., company employed phony trades to increase the price for power sold into Southern California from an Entegra plant near Phoenix.
"They were making kind of phantom trades," O'Driscoll said.
Company officials couldn't be reached for comment.
© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.
Read more articles by Dale Kasler
What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com
Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)
Here are some rules of the road:
Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "Report Abuse" link to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.
Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.
Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.
Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand.
Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.
Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.
Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.
Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.
Don't flag other users' comments just because you don't agree with their point of view. Please only flag comments that violate these guidelines.
You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "Report Abuse" link to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at email@example.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.
If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them.