Marketers Seek Halt to ISO, PX Disclosures in CA

In an emergency motion filed at FERC last week, eight power marketers serving California asked the Commission to bar the Cal-ISO and Cal-PX from disclosing confidential information about their companies and/or practices - absent adequate safeguards - to state agencies investigating the out-of-control electricity market in the state.

The power marketers want FERC to immediately issue a "uniform standard" that would give the disclosures by the Cal-ISO and Cal-PX the "same confidentiality protections" as those provided under FERC-approved tariffs and the Commission's Model Protective Order. Absent a swift response to their request, they urged the Commission to stay the release of such information in California while their emergency motion is under review.

The marketers said quick action was needed because the Cal-ISO planned to begin releasing proprietary information about certain companies last week to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the California Electricity Oversight Board (EOB). At press time Friday, the Commission had not responded to the marketers' emergency request [EC96-19, ER96-1663].

Given the "unsettled conditions" in the Golden State bulk power markets, the CPUC, EOB, the state attorney general's office and Bureau of Audit have initiated a series of investigations, and either have served or plan to serve subpoenas or data requests on the Cal-ISO and Cal-PX. These requests seek bidding, pricing and outage data, and other sensitive proprietary information about companies that are participating in California market, according to the marketers.

But "no state agency has, as yet, offered substantial assurances that confidentiality will be preserved...on a substantially similar basis" to that offered by FERC in its Model Protective Order. Such an order limits disclosure of confidential information only to those persons with a "need to know."

The power marketers said they didn't object to the Cal-ISO and Cal-PX releasing information to the state agencies if adequate confidentiality safeguards are assured. Nor, they emphasized, were they trying to delay any of the investigations.

The marketers seeking the emergency motion included Duke Energy North America LLC, Duke Energy Trading and Marketing LLC, Dynegy Power Marketing Inc., Reliant Energy Power Generation Inc., Reliant Energy Services Inc., Southern Energy Inc., Williams Energy Marketing & Trading Co., and AES Corp. and its affiliates.

Susan Parker

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