El Paso, Williams and Exelon have denied manipulating the California electricity market in responses filed with federal regulators, who are probing questionable trading by Enron Corporation.
About one hundred and fifty other power sellers have until today to tell the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission whether they used tactics outlined by Enron, once the biggest energy trader. Enron created fake congestion on California power lines to boost profit and used other methods that might have inflated prices.
The shares of energy traders have tumbled in the past year following Enron's bankruptcy filing and a decline in power and natural gas prices. Several companies have sold assets and securities to raise cash and revive investor confidence shaken by debt and accounting concerns.
The denials “give California a little less ammunition in its settlement discussions” with traders, Merrill Lynch analyst Cark Kirst said. “A little of bit of good news will allow investors to breathe a sigh of relief.”