Those of you who remember the 1980s and 1990s may remember that the US business media proclaimed Enron to be the greatest business corporation that ever existed. The people who ran the company were geniuses and their business model would remake the world. Well, as it turned out, the people who ran Enron were criminals and they did remake California – they looted its electrical system by deliberately sabotaging its grid infrastructure.
Enron was also the leading corporate cheerleader for the deregulation of the US electrical system. Part of that deregulation was the creation of a nationwide übergrid which could be used (by Enron) to speculate on electricity from coast to coast. Who did Dick Cheney name as the chairman of his secret energy task force, which met right after the US Supreme Court selected Mr. Cheney? You guessed it – Enron CEO Ken Lay, affectionately known to Cheney front man George Bush as “Kenny Boy.”
This Enron-inspired program continues to this day, now disguised in the cloak of FERC’s Order 1000 and claims that an ubergrid is needed to usher in Big Wind nirvana.
And many people claim that everything’s fine now, because Enron is gone. Uh, no. Investment banks JP Morgan Chase and Barclay’s have stepped right into Kenny Boy’s shoes and are keeping the flame of market manipulation alive in the electricity business.
I am a regular, if infrequent, reader of Matt Taibbi’s blog at Rolling Stone. Matt is one the great US journalists, and his coverage of the US’s criminal bankers is unmatched. In his recent post, Matt lets us know that he will soon be writing an indepth story about JP Morgan Chase’s criminal manipulation of electricity markets in Michigan and California. As a warm up, Matt provides some background on the criminal enterprise that is JP Morgan Chase.