When I tried to make any sense of the California power mess, the name Enron kept coming up over and over again. What I found was amazing. It's the Rupert Murdoch of the energy industry.
Enron is the largest energy transmission and management company in the world. It started as an enormous gas pipeline operator, realizing that the people who own the pipes control the supply. It devised a similar strategy for electricity, and went relentlessly to work transforming the power generation industry into a huge online "pipeline" sort of resembling a whacked-out eBay for electricity, which became a commodity just like hog bellies and grain.
This evolved, courtesy of the Internet, into the classic example of globalization and conglomeration, making millions from the actual sale and operation of the eBay-like online energy markets themselves. They'll help you get electricity deregulated in your state. They'll sell you the equipment to set up a market. They'll sell you the bandwidth. They'll sell you the power. They'll sell you the gas. They'll sell you "green" alternative power from their own wind generators. They'll even help you invest whatever money's left.
Enron is one of the world's major believers in the new Gospel Of Wealth. I quote from http://www4.enron.com/corp/inside/insideenron.html:
"We believe in the inherent wisdom of open markets. We are convinced that consumer choice and competition lead to lower prices and innovation."
San Francisco is not convinced, apparently. Enron is named prominently in its lawsuit. The company is giving arrogant press statements all over the place. Again, a quote, as attributed to Mark Palmer, a company flak, in the Los Angeles Times:
"Enron limits sales to parties that are not credit-worthy and "we have not treated the California utilities any differently