California won another round Wednesday in its seemingly endless fight with JPMorgan Chase & Co. over the investment bank's dealings in the state's electricity market.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected JPMorgan's claim that it wasn't paid enough for power sold to the California Independent System Operator. JPMorgan, which regularly trades electricity in California, said the ISO was guilty of "unlawful withholding" of $3.7 million for power supplied last spring.
The bank's claim was "without merit," said ISO spokeswoman Stephanie McCorkle.
FERC dismissed the claim because JPMorgan hadn't yet exhausted the ISO's dispute resolution process.
The $3.7 million claim is separate from two other big fights pending between JPMorgan and the ISO.
The ISO says JPMorgan used manipulative bidding techniques to gain an extra $73 million in profits in 2010 and 2011. The company denies the charge but was recently slapped with a six-month, nationwide trading suspension by FERC for giving investigators false information. The suspension limits JPMorgan to selling power at cost in most cases.
More recently, the ISO accused JPMorgan of using its contractual rights to stonewall a badly needed power-plant renovation in Huntington Beach. The renovation could be crucial in preventing blackouts next summer in Southern California, and the ISO, Gov. Jerry Brown and other state officials have asked FERC to intervene.