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Chase Targeted In Probe Into Alleged Energy Market Manipulation

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(CBS) Charles Feldman
Charles Feldman joined KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO as an investigative reporter...
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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — One of the nation’s biggest banks is denying allegations of possible energy market manipulation in Southern California and throughout the state.

KNX 1070’s investigative reporter Charles Feldman reports the allegations comes just as a two-week-long heat wave has sent electricity consumption levels soaring.

The allegations from the California Independent System Operator (Cal ISO) – which runs over 75 percent of the state’s power grid – target profits made off the state by the energy trading division of banking giant JPMorgan Chase.

Cal ISO’s Stephinie McCorkle said the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) launched an investigation in June into alleged energy market manipulation by Chase in California and 11 other states nationwide.

“At this point, the financial impact from this adverse market behavior that we identified and stopped amounts to about $73 million in our opinion,” said McCorkle.

In a court filing, Chase denied the allegations.

The charges come over a decade after traders with the now-defunct Enron Corporation took billions out of the pockets of Californians during the energy crisis of 2001.

McCorkle said state regulators are determined to prevent another Enron-type crisis from occurring again as they await the results of the investigation.

“We just absolutely will not tolerate any actions in our market that that threaten fairness and just prices,” she said.

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