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CU Praises Senate Vote To Prohibit Energy Market Manipulation

Wednesday, November 5, 2003
Contact: Adam Goldberg, (202) 462-6262

Amendment Would Address Enron-Style Market Manipulation

(Washington, DC) – Saying it will protect consumers from “Enron-style” energy market manipulation, Consumers Union today praised the Senate’s approval of an amendment by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash) that will prohibit energy market manipulation.
“The Senate took a long overdue step to protect consumers from the kind of massive market manipulation that Enron and others perpetrated in the Western electricity meltdown of 2000 and 2001,” said Adam Goldberg, policy analyst with Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports.
“One of the hard learned lessons from that electricity debacle is that when energy companies manipulate the markets, devastating consequences result,” Goldberg added. “Billions of dollars were lost and millions of lives were adversely affected. The toll on businesses both large and small was enormous.”
The amendment to the agriculture appropriations bill (H.R. 2673) adopted by the Senate will amend the Federal Power Act (FPA) to prohibit manipulative practices in electricity markets and specify that electricity rates resulting from manipulative practices are not legal. This will strengthen consumer protections, and Goldberg said it should be added to the energy bill that’s now working its way through Congress.
“It’s about time that Congress did something to ensure that the kind of devastation Enron and other energy companies caused never occurs again,” Goldberg said. “We certainly hope Congress carries through with today’s vote and ensures that this amendment becomes law and is not dropped for political reasons.”
The Cantwell amendment was approved by the Senate on a 57 to 40 vote.

Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, is an independent nonprofit testing, educational and information organization serving only the consumer. We are a comprehensive source of unbiased advice about products and services, personal finance, health, nutrition and other consumer concerns. Since 1936, our mission has been to test products, inform the public and protect consumers.