In late-breaking news, Jerry Brown announced that California consumers victimized by “market manipulation and exorbitant prices” during the energy crisis a decade ago will receive a whopping $400 million in refunds.
“The settlements,” Brown said, “will put hundreds of millions of dollars back into the pockets of California energy consumers who suffered blackouts and great economic harm during the energy crisis.”
In conjunction with Enron and other energy companies, Sempra, the accused party in the $400 million settlement, is said to have engaged in “Enron-style gaming” of the energy markets and demonstrated a “pervasive pattern of market manipulation and abuse.”
In light of the blockbuster settlement, the 2000-2001 energy crisis appears to have revealed the dangers of unregulated derivative markets and a weak Congress beholden to corporate giants. It is also possible that Congress’s dereliction of duty in this instance laid the groundwork for its inability or unwillingness to preempt the real estate bubble before it burst in 2008.
Look for CAIVN to provide more in-depth commentary and analysis on this late-breaking announcement in the coming days.