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Desc:Documentary on bad accounting practices and rape of California electricty consumers
Category:Classic Movies, News & Politics
Tags:Enron, Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling, California Energy Crisis, Smartest Guys in the Room
Submitted:Roachbud
Date:12/15/07
Views:3082
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Comment count is 13
Randroid
After things like this, I'm still baffled there are people in your nation who seriously consider voting Ron Paul.
Stog
This documentary brings a smile to my face every time I see it.

And by smile I mean truckloads of anger and disgust mixed with schadenfreude.
Feyd
The book was fascinating. The movie was rabble-rousing, slipshod, populist clap-trap.
Enjoy
Agreed

Enjoy
Just some accuracy note on this...

1. Mark-to-Market accounting wasn’t an Enron invention which this film tries to pass. All non-speculative trading firms use MTM.

2. The PRC Process was only in practice for a couple years and modeled after Jack Welch's system. The film really takes a lot of liberties to try to make a point here.

3. Bethany McLean is an idiot. Skilling was criminal but Bethany colors this story with such retardation it's hard to watch. Everything you hear her say is tinged with inaccuracies and agenda.

4. Enron liked strippers. There a many stripper place in Houston thanks in large part to Enron. If Lou Pai said he wanted Chinese Buffet for lunch that meant a quick trip to the tittie bar.

5. Lou Pai once told me 100% of his money was in ENE. I don't think he was lying but it's really bad advice to give a 23-year-old

6. The PGE acquisition had nothing to do with raping California as Beth suggests. In fact all west coast trading had been moved back to Houston.

7. The 1996 California deregulation was for residential. The wholesale market had already been long deregulated. The 1996 residential market never took off. The film is grossly off here.

8. "Arbitrage" is a very common trading term and not something evil Enron invented. More bullshit from Beth. The California blackouts were very specifically due to unethical Enron trader and terrible policy from California (they paid for every watt on the spot market). Grey Davis was no victim.

9. I like how they point "always made the numbers when we weren't going to two weeks before." That always confused the hell out of me.

10. Sherron Watkins is the only hero in this whole story. She's beloved by ex-Enron folks myself included.

For what it's worth I sat on the West coast trading desk from age 23-26 so that's why I have an opinion on all this. I left before the crash and I had no idea this would happen.

Roachbud
Order 888 came out four years before this, allowing wholesale trading everywhere. The California Power Exchange was set up shortly after that. The way the market was incredibly complex and easy to manipulate. Back then FERC didn't have any kind of power to fine for manipulation. There are tapes of your former colleagues talking about screwing over "granny in Barstow."

California imports 1/3 of it's power, much of that from hydropower in the Northwest, which Enron owned. Granted there was a drought and supplies were tight, but Enron tweaked the system, bringing down plants when they didn't have to and making it worse. That jacked up prices of electricity.

I work for a trade paper on electricity and know a lot about wholesale markets. Enron pulled a lot of crap.

This hasn't completely stopped: TXU is up against close to $250 million in fines, Exelon had to pay $800 million back to Illinois and PJM tried to shut up its market monitor only to run into two FERC complaints after he ratted them out.

Roachbud
Order 888 was 1996.

Roachbud
In 1996 California set up the Power Exchange, a spot market for electricity and made all of the utilities buy all of their power from it. That was straight up retarded, markets fluctuate way too much and companies need to be able to hedge with long term contracts. California probably did the worst job of implementing this and because of that it stopped a lot of other states from going down that path.

Order 888 set up ISOs and streamlined wholesale power markets around the country, implementing language from the Energy Policy Act of 1992.

Before that there were IPPs for 15 years and they could sell some of their power to utilities, but the market wasn't open enough for them to do much. There wasn't much wholesale competition until the 1990s.

longwinded
I have nothing against you personally enjoy but I do admit that some of the things you write make me scratch my head in consternation -

1. Sure, Enron didn't invent MTM, but they sure did stretch it to the limit, something I'm pretty sure the movie makes clear.

8. Beth might say some stuff here but let's try to lay off the ad hominem and concentrate on how in the movie they play a clip of on these guys talking about "stealing" money and the other guy says use another word and the first guy says "ok arbitrage". I don't think the point of that scene is OMG ARBITRAGE - it's look at these slimy bastards use language to mask criminal activity.

P.S. THEY WERE TAPED? WHY/WHO/HOW?

9. and P.S. - You were confused by making the numbers and then stunned when it went down? Come now, where's your sense?

Enjoy
We should trade stories sometime. Are you on poe-news proper? P.S. No "enjoy" tag. SOB
Stopheles
So wait -- did Roachbud bounce for Enron??
Princess v2.1
Someone might get the idea that the "free market" is an ideological pyramid scheme
Feyd
Well gee that's not a fucking retarded conclusion to come to, not at all.

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