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Industry News

Bonneville Halts Surplus Offer to Avoid Legal Trouble

LCG, March 18, 2003-The Bonneville Power Administration has decided to stop its daily surplus capacity offer because of lawsuit fears.

BPA used to post a surplus electricity offer on a nearly daily basis in order that specified customers might buy power.

After a complaint from an unidentified customer, who had been instructing his own traders and found that the posting had not been made on a particular day, BPA reevaluated its daily surplus offer. The amount of power being offered can change significantly between the posting and the time of delivery. In addition, the posting is not intended to affect traders' actions, despite the trader's complaint.

While the posting is not made as a market indicator, the company is worried that someone might take advantage of the current legal climate and accuse BPA of market manipulation. Market players nationwide have been cutting back on the electricity price information they release as more and more market manipulation allegations are put forth.

In the past few months several companies were accused of providing false data to market publications for the express purpose of manipulating prices.

Meanwhile, recent downpours have increased BPA hydroelectric capacity from its Columbia River basin dams, and its daily surplus offer has increased sharply.

Apparently some traders use the daily offer as one gauge of the frequency and volume of electricity sales.

This use, combined with the market climate, has made BPA worried enough to halt its surplus offer completely.

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